Janet Hodgeson

I was introduced to the work of Janet Hodgeson's sugar and molasses piece, White Cube, Black Square' which looks at the product in terms of the sugar trade.

 

Her sugar bricks could be seen as a take on the minimalist work 'The Bricks' by Carl Andre. Fiona Bradley the exhibition curator saw the work offering meaning in dualities, such as male/female, art/non art, useful/useless, pure/impure, black/white.

 

The work initiates a conversation about the gallery's past as a warehouse used to store goods such as sugar; there's an intense engagement with space and place. The work reminds you how the proceeds from slavery are built into the environment in which we live and also how relationships between people up till today are influenced by this history.

 

The white cube made of sugar bricks are cemented with royal icing, a juxtaposition of art/non-art, useful/useless. I enjoy the idea of a stream of molasses making a wriggling worm in the black square of molasses. This work invites the viewer into a complex visual, cultural and historical game.

 

I think I haven't developed work along this line more is that I don't want to risk making something not very good about a complex subject, so I've avoided it. But I think in order to understand the present (to paraphrase Gramsci) you've got to understand history. Part of that involves more in depth research on Tate and Lyle.

 

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