AN ECLECTIC collection of artworks depicting various female figures is debuting in Scotland next week.
From artist Renee So, the eye-catching pieces include sculptures, stoneware and glazed ceramic tiles.
Titled “Effigies and Elginisms”, the works will appear in Cample Line, an independent arts organisation, based in Thornhill in rural south west Scotland.
Egyptian goddesses, Roman busts and pre-Columbian figurines are just some of the sources of inspiration for the Hong Kong-born artist.
The exhibition’s centre piece is a group of varied stoneware sculptures made in black unfired clay.
Within the grouping are three female figures and a mythical beast of So’s creation, which she describes as part-dog, part-bird and part-woman.
So explained: “the female figures are inspired by figurative pre-historic pottery and the parallel history of Venus figures which are the earliest representations of the female body. No one knows why they were made, but they are usually small, and can fit in the palm of one’s hand.
“They are widely believed to be good luck charms for fertility. They were usually made from clay, stone or ivory and feature in ancient South American, African, Egyptian and European cultures.’
Raised in Melbourne, Australia before settling in London, this will be the first time So’s work has been showcased on a solo basis in Scotland.
A 3-D model of the anatomy of the clitoris, produced by Professor of Urology Helen O’Connell, is the muse for elongated head and breast forms in the work.
So said: ‘It was first mapped in 2016 based on the research by urologist Helen O’Connell who published her studies in 1998…It instantly reminded me of the ancient Egyptian Venus figures yet they are several millennia apart.’
Representation of male figures throughout history has also been a previous focus of So’s work.
By particularly honing in on features such as beards, pipes and cigarettes, So sought to emphasise the power and status of men during the period she was capturing.
Effigies and Elginisms by Renee So will be at Cample Line, south west Scotland, from the 2nd April to the 19th June 2022.