Grove Collective is pleased to present the upcoming group exhibition A War With No Winner: Bodies and their Spaces, featuring the UK-based artists Shannon Bono, Kim Booker, Sikelela Owen, and Corinna Spencer, on view online in virtual reality through the Grove Collective website. This is the first time these artists have shown together as a group, and marks the first time Grove Collective has worked with all of these artists.
When considered together, the work of Bono, Booker, Owen, and Spencer creates thematic and discursive overlap that extends far beyond what meets the eye. While often expressed through disparate styles and processes, each artist’s practice places a primacy on human(oid) forms, while negotiating those bodies’ positioning – and status – within their works. Yet, this similarity in itself only functions as a springboard for far larger, more pressing points of intersection: Shannon Bono’s powerful insistence on the body – particularly, the black female body – as a signifier of both strength and opposition contrasts Booker’s diffuse, often semi-abstracted figures. These bodies still, however, are not without their own curious allure, drawing to mind Sikelela Owen’s work in their own linear uncertainty. At once regal, if not intimidating in their command of space, Owen’s figures often remained blurred, as if by equal parts nostalgia and equivocation, not wanting to set in stone that which may be misremembered. But still, this sense of memory is evinced by Spencer’s work: often eerie or nightmarish, aptly noting memory’s ability to reimagine, reshape, and distort the body in ways that can grant it power that exists seemingly out of our own control. Collectively, they prove a timely and virtuosic group of artists that demand the viewer’s consideration of their own body as a vessel in which to navigate the world.
Furthermore, this expands on Grove Collective’s exhibitional practice of foregrounding the body as subject for interrogation, having already explored adjacent themes in their recent exhibition, Fragmented Intimacy. Co-Directors Jacob Barnes and Morgane Wagner remain keen to examine that which has sat at the crux of much social, political, and medical debate over the last year, while in doing so, posit a means of moving forward. While in no way a reaction to the current climate, A War With No Winner offers the opportunity to reflect on the current moment, while considering much broader themes alongside this.