Time to Stop Mocking the Tudors

Exhibition in Ravenscourt Park looks beyond suburban pastiche

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Jeff McMillan


Mock Tudor

Kirsty Buchanan, Rachael Haines, Sigrid Holmwood
Cathy Lomax, Jeff McMillan, Alli Sharma, Charlotte Squire
18 June – 10 July 2011, Thur-Sun, 12-6pm
Private View: Fri 17 June, 6-9pm

60 Ravenscourt Road, London W6 0UG

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Mock Tudor takes the much-reviled Tudorbethan architectural style as a starting point for an examination into authenticity, influence and inspiration in a new exhibition in Ravenscourt Park.

Tracing the strands that a powerful historic story projects, the Mock Tudor artists evoke the passions of another era by transforming the banal, assimilating identities and creating alternative histories.

Used to high-brow effect by the likes of Edwin Lutyens, Norman Shaw (architect of Bedford Park) and the Arts and Crafts movement, Tudorbethan style now tends to be seen as a tasteless suburban pastiche with uPVC wood effect stucco boards creating ‘instant atmosphere’.

The Tudor period is also currently popular on film and TV with the notable recent examples of the TV series The Tudors and the films The Other Boleyn Girl and Elizabeth. Whilst Tudor revivals may ape the romantic style of a bygone age, however authentic, they ultimately reveal more about their own historic moment than the actual Tudor period.

Ravenscourt Park is a perfect romantic location for the show. The lake, in the centre of the park was once part of a moat that surrounded Palingswick Manor. Alice Perrers, a wealthy, educated, medieval woman, owned the manor during the 14th Century, and was mistress to King Edward III.

The work in the show is not strictly faithful to any historic period or style. Instead, it promiscuously borrows and changes details to suit its makers’ purposes.

Kirsty Buchanan’s films are based on her series of Headless Queen Zines. Rachael Haines creates a gaffa-taped, ‘magpie’ Tudoresque interior. Sigrid Holmwood’s drawings play with the concept of ‘intern’ in the contemporary art world and ‘apprentice’ of Tudor times, contributing to her investigative painting practice that includes re-enactments with The Tudor Group.

Cathy Lomax’s Holbein inspired head-shots mix characters from Tudor themed movies with renaissance portraits and contemporary fashion imagery.

Jeff McMillan moved from Texas to the UK in the late 1990s and attempted Tudor-style paintings in an effort to assimilate. This is the first showing of these works.

Alli Sharma draws on a pictorial history of Hammersmith, via local pub signs and pawnbrokers, for a new series of paintings.

Charlotte Squires reconfigures domestic objects into illuminated sculptures.

May 30, 2011