Kerry Stewart, This Girl Bends, 1996
Kerry Stewart’s children are older – in the main, we’re back to the adolescents of Rineke Dijkstra’s Beach Portraits – and less strange than the young kids Loretta Lux and Nicky Hoberman represent, but that doesn’t mean that all’s right with their world. Stewart works with sculpture and installation to create works that can in a way be seen as portraits. They involve people after all. In Stewart’s case the people are made from, variously, plaster or fibreglass and paint. There is a level of realism but also a strangeness that once again seems best explained in terms of the uncanny.
This Girl Bends presents us with a girl in a gravity-defying pose. Her eyes are open but staring, her clothes are ambiguous in their plainness: the collar suggests day wear but her trance-like state says sleepwalker more than it says concentration to me. I confess though that I’m not sure whether I’ve seen this work in real life and it wasn’t one of the works that brought Stewart to mind today; nonetheless, I really like the oddness of it and would like to come across it in a gallery.