The stately Pitzhanger Manor in Ealing seems the ideal venue for banquets and busts of famous persons, so Kathy Dalwood’s latest plaster cast installation seems an ideal fit. Drawing on the fact that both feasts and immortalising an individual through sculpture are celebratory acts, the artist has combined these with other societal achievements to create a surreal homage.
Many of the busts that greet us are of women in period dress and men in military attire, befitting this historic venue. But it’s what’s on their heads that will amuse visitors, from fighter jets to architectural monuments. The effect is a playful recognition of humanity’s achievements in design, architecture and technology. And it’s not just large objects that are commemorated, Lego and jigsaw pieces can also be seen making up the subjects’ attires.
The centrepiece of this exhibition is a banquet laid out on a large table filled with cutlery and goblets made of plaster. At the centre of this table is a tiered cake decorated with models of the Coliseum, Leaning Tower of Pisa and other famous monuments. It’s packed with the smallest details that will take some time to absorb, but the chaotic nature of the arrangement gives the banquet a liveliness that fits in well with the humorous tone of this exhibition.
Despite only being spread across three rooms, there are dozens of Dalwood’s plaster sculptures on display and they make for a humorous and optimistic display.
The Secret Society – A Sculptural Banquet by Kathy Dalwood is on at PM Gallery and House, Walpole Park, Mattock Lane, W5 5EQ from 19 April to 9 June. Admission is free.
A free tour of the exhibition by the curator and the artist will take place on 2 June at 2pm.
Also on display at the next door PM Gallery is the free exhibition on 40 Years of Art Walking.