Cob Gallery returns to Drawing Now this year with a selection of new works on paper by London-based artist Christabel MacGreevy. Love Rituals collects together recent drawings made in charcoal, oil pastel and chalk from still life, moving images and the imagination.
A graduate of Central Saint Martin’s and the Royal Drawing School, MacGreevy has established a diverse art practice that incorporates sculpture, collage, print-making and textile work. Her drawings evoke an unusual mixture of classical myth and the ‘kitchen sink’, absorbing influences that range from folk art to street art and include figures like Pierre Bonnard, David Hockney, Carole Rama and René Magritte.
Taking up her interest in the connections between domesticity, memory and identity, the drawings in Love Rituals centre on the private spaces of the bedroom and the bathroom. They’re attentive to the subtle theatre of familiar details and personal traces — the set-dressing of identity — in these most private of realms, and their origins in a mixture of direct observation, film stills and imagined scenes attest to the way that the spaces we live in are fusions, shaped in varying degrees both by how we see ourselves and how we wish to be seen.
Combining depictions of figures with studies of the human presences that inhabit empty rooms, MacGreevy’s work transforms the mundane into the meaningful and turns us into detective-voyeurs. Discarded towels, damp toothbrushes and unmade beds become evidence of both the casualness of everyday rituals — shaving, washing, sleeping — and the knowing way in which we invest domestic spaces with sensuousness and intimacy, pride and vulnerability. The seashells that recur throughout the work are perfectly poised subject matter, as both a go-to means of bathroom decoration — putting a personal ‘stamp’ on a space — and the voluptuous conduits of an unsuspecting eroticism.
‘I love the control and simplicity of drawing,’ says MacGreevy: ‘all you need is paper. And a surface to work from. It is the quickest way to execute a thought in your mind into a readable symbol existing in the world.’ With an approach to mark-making that is both assertive and honest, Love Rituals sees this young artist capture life’s strange interactions between the accidental and the self-aware with striking originality and authority.