Kate Davis: Nudes Never Wear Glasses (4 stars)

This article is from 2017

Kate Davis: Nudes Never Wear Glasses

Margaret Tait award-winner's first Edinburgh solo exhibition

Nudes Never Wear Glasses includes the first gallery presentation of Kate Davis' Margaret Tait Award film 'Charity' as well as her earlier film 'Weight', made in 2014. Presented alongside photographs and collages, her films playfully reimagine domestic labour as if it was a recognised profession.

Combining an intimate first person narrative with allegorical images of women breast-feeding taken from art history, 'Charity' explores a mother's relationship to her baby and the all-consuming nature of the associated domestic labour. This is made palpable through oppressively close-up shots: tumbling around inside a washing machine mid-cycle, for example. Similarly, a section of film in which the camera is half submerged in a soapy washing-up bowl echoes the faux partition walls that break up the gallery space so that visitors' movements must be rerouted.

Though both films convey a sense of claustrophobia that accompanies motherhood, they are joyful in their celebration of the tactile experiences particular to women's lives. 'Weight' presents photographs of women in domestic settings accompanied by an authoritative voiceover that adopts the same formalist manner of speech you might expect to be used to describe a piece of sculpture.

Though the collages displayed alongside come across as overly cerebral, the barbed wit of both films poetically acknowledges the inherent creativity of domestic labour with unusually subtle humour.

Stills, until 8 Oct, free.

Kate Davis 

  • 4 stars

Kate Davis’ first solo exhibition in Edinburgh includes her recently commissioned Margaret Tait Award film, Charity. Charity questions how the essential, but largely invisible and unpaid, processes we employ to care for others and ourselves could be reimagined. The exhibition will also include work in other media…