Jodie Carey

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Jodie Carey
The Daily Mail - Arrangement One, 2005
Newspaper, stained blood, tea and coffee, wire, oasis, concrete urn
185 x 110 cm

Jodie Carey’s elaborate sprays of faded foliage have, at first, an elegiac look, like bouquets for an event long forgotten. Their colours are wan and blanched, enacting the theme of life’s transience that underpins the floral still life tradition of artists like van Huysum and van Os. The sense of transience is carried through in their material, too: composed of, and named after, daily newspapers (The Daily Mail – Arrangement One, and so on), Carey’s works embody time’s passing.

Jodie Carey
The Daily Mail - Arrangement Two, 2005
Newspaper stained with blood, tea and coffee, wire, oasis, concrete urn
185 x 110 cm

But examine her method of colouring these shreds of thin paper and the themes become more complex. Carey stains the paper with a variety of liquids – tea, coffee, even blood – and by doing so pulls the work into an intimate and unsettling sphere. The domestic inference of the tea and coffee seems to evoke death’s presence in daily life, and to play out the artist’s stated aim to explore “how we choose to deal, both publicly and privately, with the death of a loved one.”

Jodie Carey
The Daily Mail - Arrangement Three, 2005
Newspaper stained with blood, tea and coffee, wire, oasis, concrete urn.
185 x 110 cm

Death, here, has entered the realm of chat around the breakfast table. The blood suggests something darker: evoking the suffering body, it nods to the reality of illness and bodily decay, running as a counterpoint to the flowers’ elision of the actuality of the end of life.

Text by Ben Street

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