Charlotte Hodes - The Grammar of Ornament

Charlotte Hodes - The Grammar of Ornament

6 March - 5 April 2014

With an international reputation as an artist working through collage across different media, this new work by Charlotte Hodes has been informed by the influential 1856 book The Grammar of Ornament by architect Owen Jones, one of the most important design theorists of the 19th century. The exhibition will consist of a sequence of thirty seven papercuts and thirty seven related dishes which are a response to his General Principles which govern the use of design and ornament in architecture.

Hodes subverts this male treatise and re-interprets it from the position of a contemporary female artist engaged in the languages of fine and decorative arts. “Hodes dismantles idea and form by using collage and papercut techniques to disrupt images, thus creating multifarious new directions and possibilities,” says Dr Janet McKenzie in her catalogue essay on the work.

In Hodes’ papercuts the female figure appears as a protagonist serving to undermine and disrupt the rigidity of the hierarchical system presented by Jones, defined by his “General Principles” that govern the use of design and ornament in architecture. Her feminist approach is further explored through the medium of ceramic dishes as a canvas, situating the imagery firmly within the domestic domain rather than seeking to replicate the grand and lofty iconography of architecture and classic design.

“Her work, using tiny fragments of paper and decorative motifs, explores the diverse manner in which the women have been presented in art history; the decorative links to the domestic, and the way in which so much of female activity goes unnoticed,” says McKenzie.

Significantly the exhibition will be restaged at New Hall Art Collection, Cambridge, the only collection devoted to women’s art in th