A multifaceted approach to the female gaze is explored in an exhibition curated by fashion designer Simone Rocha.

‘Girls Girls Girls,’ taking place at Lismore Castle Arts, unites work from a diverse selection of artists including Sophie Barber, Louise Bourgeois, Elene Chantladze, Petra Collins, Sian Costello, Dorothy Cross, Genieve Figgis, Iris Haeussler, Eimear Lynch & Domino Whisker, Roni Horn, Cassi Namoda, Sharna Osborne, Josiane M.H. Pozi, Cindy Sherman, Alina Szapocznikow, Harley Weir, Francesca Woodman and Luo Yang.

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Elene Chantladze, Untitled, mixed media on stone. Image courtesy the artist and LC QUEISSER

A juxtaposition of media forms, encompassing art, sculpture and photography, subvert the traditional concepts of femininity. In ‘Stilletos’ by Dorothy Cross, shoes in cowhide and cow teat muse on the role of the absurd in fashion. Unsettling issues of identity take shape in Francesca Woodman’s self-portrait. Classic motifs are given a subversive twist in Sian Costello’s self-portraits in oil, while Elene Chantladze’s images on stone have a nightmarish quality.

‘I wanted to bring together artists who make powerful, provocative work and have them together in the space, sharing the underlying femininity of the pieces,’ says Rocha. ‘I wanted to explore the works of these inspirational artists and for them to share a space together.’

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Sophie Barber, Kim and Kanye by Juergen again, 2021, oil on canvas. Courtesy Alison Jacques, copyright the artist

The exhibition brings established artists such as Cindy Sherman and Roni Horn together with those emerging, including Sophie Barber, Luo Yang and Genieve Figgis. When viewed collectively, the works tap into a disturbing alternative reality, with haunting self-portraiture reflecting an internal narrative unique to each artist. The contrasting media, when viewed together, presents a multi-faceted exploration of femininity.

It is a dichotomy Rocha herself explores in her own work, juxtaposing traditionally feminine silhouettes against masculine tailoring. ‘The female spirit and experience have been a strong focus of my work from the beginning,’ she says. ‘I am always pushing to make something traditionally feminine in a modern, off-kilter world. In this exhibition, I wanted to explore the works of these inspirational artists and for them to share a space together.’ §

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Dorothy Cross, Stilletos, 1994, Shoes, cowhide, cow teats. Collection of J&M Donnelly
headless woman picture

Sian Costello, Wishful Self-Portrait I, 2020. Oil on Canvas Paper

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Luo Yang, Jian San, Photograph. Courtesy Luo Yang / Migrant Bird Space