Lydia Brockless, Lipsticulum, 2014, Courtesy of the artist

Lydia Brockless

b.1991, High Wycombe

2011-14 BA Fine Art, Leeds College of Art, Leeds

Recent exhibitions

Group shows:
2015 ‘Small Expressions’, Textile Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 2015 ‘Refuse, Reuse’, 46 Thurloe Street, London
2014 ‘Ones To Watch’, Sunny Bank Mills, Leeds
2012 ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY MONDRIAN’, M-E-X-I-C-O Project Space, Leeds

Awards and Residencies:
2014 Graduate Residency, The Art House, Wakefield

Artist’s Statement

Paradoxes and oppositions run throughout my work. As humans, our lives are full of peaks and troughs, pain and trauma exist alongside comfort and happiness. My work deals with a number of polar opposites which are materialised through combinations of processes and forms. Many of my sculptures employ traditionally ‘feminine’ craft processes which, to me, are an appropriate way in which to pay homage to the design and craft skills of my late mother and grandmother. However celebration of life requires acknowledgement of death, and tributes like these are not made in isolation of the accompanying negativity. The soft, comfortable femininity of these surfaces is subjected to destructive processes like cutting, melting and bleaching which in turn negate their original properties as crafted textile items and allow them to become something other. My work attempts to personify a duality found in the experiences of knowing other people and scrutinising the self.

One, Many is a work whose presence and structure relies wholly on its own negative space. The title refers to the holes of which it is made up; its existence as both one large hole and thousands of smaller ones. The whole object is a vessel, permeable and inviting, and constantly breathing. The work is made by crocheting in the round, using polypropylene double knit yarn which builds a floppy, fluffy, shapeless tube of textile. The hardness of the finished work is achieved by applying intense heat to the fibres so as to melt and fuse them together. Once cooled, the structure becomes a cage, a self-supporting structure with stitches still clearly visible yet uncannily rigid and possessing none of their former softness. The presence of concrete powder pigment used as a dye merges the industrial and the domestic, an additional example of the practice of Not Using Things For Their Intended Purpose, which runs throughout my work.

Lipsticulum was made using the same construction technique as in One, Many, and draws on many similar themes. It is undeniably phallic, yet adorned with feminine colour, at one end delicate and pale, at the other deep and sanguine. The title is a made-up portmanteau of the words ‘lipstick’ and ‘speculum’, both of which are phallic in shape but are concerned with the feminine. Lipstick is about the face, outer appearance, high-shine and commercial beauty. Speculum is internal, concerned with health and science, but at times painful and frightening.