All photos Rachael House © the artist all rights reserved

Cocksure by Rachael House

Thursday May 10th - Thursday May 31st 2018

Mon - Saturday 12- 4pm or by appointment.

Opening Event 10.5.18 6-9pm

This solo exhibition featured a brand new body of work by Rachael House. Rachael created exciting, desirable artworks including textile arts,ceramics and zines that have used printmaking techniques as a secure and tactile device to communicate her compelling ideas and concerns.  

Image by Rachael House 2018

This beautiful new zine, Cocksure, accompanied the exhibition of the same name by Rachael House in May 2018. The zine has responses to Rachael's work from the very generous contributors Annie Whiles, Stephen Nelson, Jordan McKenzie, Pauline Wood, Bren O'Callaghan, Flo Brooks, Sally O'Reilly, Sophie Persson, Alexander Small, Lucy Robinson and Adam Ross.

A copy of this zine has recently been purchased at the Glasgow Zine Fest 2018 by the Wellcome Library.

Image by Rachael House 2018

Rachael House’s work reimagines the power of our bodies symbolically, physically in public and in the everyday domestic. Her pieces displace fertility and reproduction as the site of power, building inclusive and intersectional extensions to constructs of femininity and masculinity.

This collection is symbolic, but made physical, tangible, playful, and above all croneful – uncanny and unsettling. The phallus is not just a symbol of power innately, as Rachael’s piece 3 totems shows, we have the power to remake the phallus on our own terms and for our own purposes.

If the crone body makes society uncomfortable, then House lets us spread that discomfort, joyfully and powerfully. She lets us infect the public and the private with the awkwardness of our bodies. We are all, after all, ‘patchworks of clay’, and through House’s work we can mould that clay to our own will, using our own hands.

Her work on the cunning crone moves womanhood beyond reproduction. House celebrates the crone’s cunning power. When engaging with House’s pieces I am particularly struck by Chaucer’s ‘queynte ‘as a powerful cunning sexual organ, that can subvert sexual value and hierarchy. As the Cunny Mirror shows, we can reject the male gaze, and transgress women’s role as ‘decoration’. The Cunny Mirror shows us our own power, refracted to the world beyond us through our crone cunning. In the process we can re-show ourselves to each other, when formed as tiles and totems the domestic space becomes a cunning space.

‘Words fail me’ is a piece that feels particularly resonant in the wake of the disclosures around everyday sexual violence (#metoo). House has produced a series of objects of physical and symbolic resistance. These are not the knuckle-dusters that we might associate with gang fights and football hooligans. These are the tools for the daily struggle against patriarchy, words are not enough when confronted with economic, social, political inequality and sexual violence. The pieces acknowledge the violence displayed against women, politically, publicly, and at a daily level. But rather than presenting women as passive ‘victims’ of male violence, we can be forearmed, with our sisterhood as our weapon. Similarly, ‘a gentler phallus (with bunny ears)’ reminds us of male victims of sexual violence as well as men’s role in challenging violence against women.

House tools us with pleasure, and kindness, in order to claim the symbolic and physical space we fill. She cuts across material, genres and heritages, moving between the DIY zine, the conceptual object, the performed self and curated spaces.

Lucy Robinson