T293 is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition at the gallery by British artist May Hands. Under the title of ‘Freschissimi’, the exhibition brings together an installation and a new series of paintings and sculptures created by the artist from her summer residency in Rome.
The appropriation of everyday urban leftovers has always characterised the content of May Hands’ work. With these materials, she critically reflects upon her surrounding environment as an outsider, albeit from a similar European culture. In ‘Freschissimi’, this critical stance takes the form of a personal consideration of the visual signs of contemporary materialism and urban scenarios, and her recontextualisation engages this reflection in an expanding range of outcomes for the exhibition.
The series of works presented in the main room of the gallery incorporates the superfluous elements recurring in our daily urban transits and rituals of consumption. Something as humble and contingent as food wrapping records the accidental and incidental marks and gestures, coming from both the raw use by the consumer and the actions and habitat of Hands’ studio process. These works further unfold this aspect of contingency and temporality, through the accompanying installation: its structure, colours and form mirroring and redefining the paintings opposite.
The interrogation on the life and destiny of objects, and on how to chisel beauty out of the discarded, takes an even more radical drift in the last room of the gallery. A new series of sculptures has been created from the casts of buckets filled with similar urban leftovers inhabiting the canvases. Made using the same approach as though a painting, yet taking on a sculptural form, these works introduce the element of chance as the purposely loose attitude to fully control the process of molding with plaster, and the behaviour of additional materials, is exposed in the layers of the sculptures.
In all areas of her practice, May Hands subtly exposes the various characteristics of materiality of things, and explores new forms and appearances. This range of possibilities implies an aesthetic that celebrates fragility, sensuous colour and modified surfaces. These elements are given new life and constitute an anthropological discourse on the nature of contemporary society as environmental awareness challenges the capitalist project.