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Rouwen & Reeve
I've got to do (= wash) my laundry.
Wash dirty laundry in public.
To discuss personal matters in public
Hang out to dry.
To abandon someone who is in need
Reflecting human emotions connected with family, relationships, memory and identity.
Walking around Naples, I watched washing blowing in the wind on balconies. Billowing sheets gently rise and fall like vast flags. Lines of socks and pants unashamedly move backwards and forwards like clockwork. A peek into the identities that live within. Further exploration led me to look at the role of washing laundry. How we launder our clothes and textiles. The memories we hold of that ritual. My son recalls playing with the drying sheets on the garden's rotary washing line and the detergent's smell filling the air. If there is no garden or balcony, there is the launderette, which is vital in our communities and serves as a valuable social meeting space for gossip and discussion. I discovered that drying washing on a balcony is banned in certain buildings, with angry notices from residents pointing this out. A reflection on social classes, class consciousness, and discrimination. The role of washing laundry has historically been associated with women. This led me to think about memories of my own mother; Monday was our washing day.
I have created several works, from abstract paintings of a washing machine cycle, a screenprint of a launderette in Bournemouth, screenprints of my mother to videos of drying washing. I sourced photographs of my mother to represent all women.
- Beverley Rouwen
The laundry lines of Napoli, both practical, necessity and tourist attraction, present gently billowing forms. The sculptures attempt to capture that sense of constant flowing.
'Vento Secco' reminds me of the fine drying days of Caithness in Scotland. Winds strong enough to blow you away.
'Washerwoman' is all swirling action with the colour of scrubbed hands.
'Super Queen' is part Elizabethan ruff and part sheets in the wind. Spotless white.
- Douglas Reeve
Jasper playing hide & seek (above)
Notice to residents (top right)
Socks on a washing line (bottom right)
52 x 68cmcm
180 x 200cm
Screenprint on canvas
35 x 68cm
Blowing in the Wind
Video, Palermo, Sicily
©Beverley Rouwen 2022
50 x 70cm
'Elite' 29 x 42cm
4 colour process screenprint
80 x 120cm, Oil on linen
80 x 120cm, Oil on linen
42 x 59cm, Screenprint on paper
30 x 30cm, Acrylic & texture on canvas
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