After a rather mundane food shop, I thought I’d lift the mood by having a look around my local art gallery, the Grant Bradley gallery in Bristol. In there, I was pleasantly surprised by an exhibition of dresses made by mixed media artist and social commentator Mandy Webb, called ‘Addressing the Situation’. Mandy’s impressive collection of dresses and wigs are an expression of everything that has had a profound effect on this woman’s life. Her artwork conveys some strong messages, such as what it’s like to live with HIV as a young woman and how austerity measures have affected people from all walks of life.
The dresses that really caught my eye were the ones centered around women and women’s issues, such as the dresses in appreciation of 18th Century female composers and 19th Century female artists. The Suffragette dress with 68 rosettes, each rosette representing a woman who was imprisoned and force fed during the suffragette struggle, is powerful and beautiful.
My favourite though in woman-wow Webb’s exhibition is her ‘Luxury Collection’. This collection is created in protest against the ‘luxury tax’, the taxation on luxury items which bizarrely includes very non-luxury feminine sanitary items. In her collection, Webb has used sanitary pads and tampons as the main material to create her luxurious dresses and wigs. Fantastic, beautiful and so original!
Mandy Webb’s exhibition ‘Addressing the Situation’ is on until 2 April at the Grant Bradley Gallery in Bedminster, Bristol.