Mary Mary is pleased to present a solo exhibition by London based Alexis Teplin, her second at the gallery. Teplin’s new body of work relates to a multitude of historical depictions and positions in art history and deals primarily in this show, with the relationship between sound, seduction and abstraction.
Presented here, are three paintings and a group of sculptural works. The paintings (oil on linen) are adorned with painted and collaged sections of métis bed linen that mark out letters or words. Two of these ‘He’ and ‘Ho’ constitute a laugh and another, ‘HA’ acts as the retort, whilst the sculptures pose the question ‘hmmm’. Each stand in for the letters of ‘hmmm’ but equally pose as inanimate, immobile objects.
Each work is installed to create a ‘sound word’ that moves through the space. Within these, Teplin has focused on abstraction working like tonal sound, with each work having a movement and speed, using colour and brushmark to create an idea of fluctuations in speech and exclamation.
Teplin’s work is often devoid of figurative representation and yet there are hints of it throughout. Here, it is the suggestion of a laugh, a murmur or continuous chatter and in the mark-making itself, which is agile and visceral. In her sculptural work the body is referenced strongly through the physicality of the plaster and paint, use of milinary fabric and in the looseness of the unstretched works acting as if costumes or clothing.
Following her current solo exhibition at the Hayward Gallery Project Space, Teplin has collaged illustrations from an early edition of Aubrey Beardsley’s prints for Oscar Wilde’s ‘Salome’ onto the surface of one of the paintings. The inclusion of ‘Salome’ iconography illustrates Teplin’s exploration of the seductiveness of form, objectification and above all decadence and its relationship to Modernism and social change.
For Teplin, the Beardsley prints symbolize the movement of a cultural object from an illicit piece of high art to that of Pop culture. Teplin’s interest in Oscar Wilde’s and Richard Strauss’ versions of ‘Salome’ are that they were instrumental in the creation of a modernism through seduction, sound and social satire. Wilde used the image of ‘Salome’ to mock Victorian conservatism and it is this idea that an artwork can bring upon shifts and changes in popular culture which holds Teplin’s interest.
Sound, speech and language are also amended and re-defined in the play which renders sounds and cultural aesthetics into simpler, less flourished versions. With the new works for Mary Mary, Teplin also translates cultural references and histories into rhythms, sounds, marks and gestures. In addition as the play is a re-working of an ‘historical event,’ Teplin’s own practice is a continuous re-modelling of art history.