MISE EN PLACE
Mise en place is a culinary phrase from French meaning “put in place”. In her first solo exhibition artist Rebecca Ladds is using the double entendre to explore the desire to find one’s place. Interpreting the meaning as “put [her] in [her] place” motivates the artist to situate herself within womanhood, both as a feminist and political concept, to investigate the dualities of participating in female rites of passage.
Ladds’ intricate drawings of seed-bearing fruit, clay and glass vessels, seashells, hands and the form of Venus, become statues symbolizing the universalities of femininity. The drawings are cut-out and presented floating off the wall in an attempt to revert to their original three-dimensional form. The two-dimensional sculptures demand more physical space, cast shadows, and mimic the need to inflate. For the artist reproducing the objects as larger-than-life is a ritualistic act, which elevates their status from commonplace to monumental.
The objects become an archive of idealized, coveted feminine experiences revealed through symbols of nourishment, consumption, fertilization and self-protection. By creating a place setting for a conceptual feast where the nourishment served is woman herself, Ladds bids her viewer to honour the historical, cinematic and personal referents of femininity.