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When I was young, my mother would cut up my apples. Through a series of rhythmic cuts and gestures, she would core and section the apple into geometric slices. “Here you go,” she would say. As I grew up, cut-up apples became something I had when I was sick or sad. And as I continued to grow, I soon began cutting up apples for others. By cutting up the apple, they become easier and more entertaining to eat; a way of offering care and support to family members that are young, old, sick, or struggling. The cut-up apple is not an offering of love, but evidence of love—a love that is expressed and experienced unconsciously and continuously. The work is a playful exaggeration of this simple yet powerful moment. By casting the apple in bronze, the sentiment intensifies to an almost uncomfortable level. Sitting within the exhibition, amongst contemporary designs and ingenious inventions, Here you go is an unapologetically kitsch, self-aware expression of love. It may sit quietly, and often be overlooked—but it will survive.
IMAGE > Madison Elrick, Here you go, 2021, bronze, dimensions variable x x cm. Image courtesy of the artist.
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Last year was truly an awful year. I lost my father late October and am still, along wth the rest of my family, slowly processing the loss. I started writing about him - his life, the hospital and his death, and much of the art I was working on at the time started to take on aspects of the traumatic experience. Initially it was therapeutic, but eventually the shock wore off and I felt enclosed by images and thoughts of death and loss. Making art became overwhelming. However, throughout the entire experience - lockdown, Dad’s passing and all of the other grief and loss I experienced - I had the unshakable support of my family and friends, particularly my housemates. The love, care and understanding they gave me (and continue to give) was huge and a major part of my healing.
During this time I was reminded of an artwork I had made years earlier but never fully realised. It contemplated the unspoken love that my mother expressed when she would offer me a cut-up apple as a snack. I found myself excited to work with these concepts again, and upon reflection I could easily see the connection between these and the support I was receiving. The project resulted in Here you go, - a solidification of this love.
Throughout this project the process of making became calming again. I still intend to write and create work about my father, and revisit the projects I was working on at the time. But for the moment, while things are still uncertain and raw, focusing on giving and receiving love is itself an act of love and support.
Being at home has meant I’ve gravitated towards objects and materials I have around the house or are easily accessible. I have found a lot of enjoyment in drawing portraits of Love Island contestants and trying to build structures with lint from the drier. Living and working in a rental property has also meant that I have been creating smaller scale works which are easy to work on and store. I have learnt there is something so inviting and enjoyable about art which can be held in your hand - almost as if it is begging to be touched.
Although I no longer live with my family my favourite room is the bathroom my parents had renovated to accommodate for my father. The bathroom was made quite large and all obstructing walls and vanities were removed apart from the various silver handles snaking across the walls - a motif I have used in previous sculptures. Initially the space is quite intimidating, almost clinical, as there is nothing separating the shower (and your nudity) from remaining room. But eventually the space becomes freeing and is much easier to use than the average bathroom.
I have just moved house so many things are still in boxes. However, one of the first things we worked on was filling and decorating the bookshelf. I love it because it is an amalgamation of all of our interests and styles and showcases our friends artworks. But mostly, I love it because of the amount of time we spent on it together - working out which books should go where, balancing the colour schemes and constantly fiddling. We are still adjusting it. The artworks include a painting by Sophie Shingles, a print by Mafalda Vasconcelos and a ceramic frog from Monte Lupo Arts.
I do quite enjoy cooking and baking however at the moment my favourite thing to do is dunk dark chocolate straight into peanut butter. I’m not necessarily bad at cooking I just really like dark chocolate and peanut butter.
IMAGES [Top to bottom] > All images courtesy of the artist. Recipe image source: unsplash.
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