Fly Away Peter
Wax, acrylic, eyes, mannequins, toy box
33 x 75 x 97 cm
All sculpture relates to the body of the person looking at it: it takes up the space of another human, drawing comparisons between the two. In Wendy Mayerâ€™s work, the comparison is an unnerving one. These uncannily realistic mannequins need to be encountered by stooping or kneeling, so that the viewer is reduced to a childâ€™s perspective, and itâ€™s in that engagement with the infant point of view that Mayerâ€™s work acquires its strange force.
Papier Mache, wax, acrylic, eyes, mixed media
85 x 70 x 70 cm
Children with unblinking glass eyes and rosy, innocent complexions stare back as though expectant of parental attention; their bodies are like half-completed toys, their crossed stitches demarcating shoulders, necks, toes, hearts. Stitching, and its associations with mending â€“ whether toys, clothes, or human bodies â€“ is a leitmotif in Mayerâ€™s work. A family, gathered around an armchair as though preparing to pose for a family photo, embrace each other awkwardly: the mewling baby in the motherâ€™s lap brandishes needles big enough to poke its parentsâ€™ eyes out.
Wax, acrylic eyes, wigs, mannequins, chair, needles, gold watch
100 x 61 x 61cm
Mayer has said that her work â€˜plays with our perception of children as innocentsâ€™, and her sculptural dioramas draw parallels between childhood and violence; thereâ€™s fear lurking within. Mayerâ€™s homage to artist Louise Bourgeois â€“ the queen of the disquieting familial drama â€“ takes the form of a giant ball of dark material, studded with pins. The artistâ€™s head pokes out from atop a feathered collar, smiling to herself as though delighted with the unspooling disquiet around her.
Text by Ben Street