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Review: Myra Boyle at Blott Artist Studio – Head to Toe

They are infrequent beasts, Blott shows, but they should always be seen. To carry the analogy on further, something I am prone to, these beasts are not your dopey-looking monkeys but usually a graceful-looking big cat, on occasion, red in tooth and claw.

Myra Boyle is the latest artist to be granted a solo show in the King Street gallery and her work concerns a subject of much gravity and weight; the subject of female perspectives. This is carried through via a series of photographs that reference the expectations of female fashion, uniforms and the body mapping of an abused girl.

I will kick off (excuse the term) with High Heels Hurt. Myra has captured with her camera a series of feet both naked and clad in the ubiquitous ladies fashion staple, the high heeled shoe. The works progress in an age ascending parade, starting from teens to pensioners, each describing either the need or the perils of wearing what has always seemed to me a device for confounding the action of walking.

Each generation included in the works seem to be both enamoured and resentful of the ankle-snapping, calf-aching creations, and the text accompanying the works reflect this and are quite illuminating. Do the shoes subjugate or empower women? Reflect and decide yourselves after seeing the works.

Body Landscapes is the title of Myra’s second body of work. And body it is indeed. A series of micro snapshots of the human body, each magnified to epic proportions, a small area of skin becomes a landscape in its own right.  Work of this nature is often seen.  It’s a visual subject that is a staple for photographers the world over.  This doesn’t lessen the work though, each beautiful image is on an aesthetic level quite powerful, but marry the image to Myra’s intent of allowing an abuse victim to reclaim her body, to find the beauty in what has, for them, become a mental battleground lost to the horrors of their ordeals and the work has a quiet confidence that imbues the images with a far richer and relevant weight.

The back room of Blott is also open to the public and a healthy mix of work from Blott’s other members are on display so do take a trip to the rear of the gallery space and enjoy.

The subjects explored throughout the show are of some depth and complexity. I don’t feel I am as qualified as some to comment too deeply about them and thus urge you to catch the show before it closes today and engage with the artist and gallery staff to get a fuller and richer perspective on these arresting and often quite beautiful images.

 

Images by Jill Reidy of Two Old Birds Photography.

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