‘Land of Lads, Land of Lashes’ Rosemarie Castoro, Wanda Czelkowska, Lydia Okumura at Thaddeus Ropac

This exhibition showcases the work of three female artists who began making bold and innovative work in the late sixties. All of them have had major retrospectives  abroad in the last couple of years, we are lucky to get this opportunity to see their work here.

The curious title of the show comes from the work of Rosemary Castoro, who is the best known of the three. Her ‘Land of Lashes’ form a small battalion which marches belligerently towards us (see photo 1)

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while the ‘Land of Lads’ is more tentative: the ladders seem to stretch and flex, like a row of young saplings which have been planted too close together (see photo 2). There are also lots of little sculptures and a substantial amount of documentary material

Lydia Okumura is Japanese but was born in Brazil. She moved to New York in 1974 and, although her work comes out of her contact with Minimalism, it has a lyricism which separates it from the American art of the time. Concentric circles of coloured mesh stand upright: the outer panels dissolve in the light so that the whole structure hovers like a humming bird (see photo 3).

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Her work has the spirituality of Islamic art, although it takes a different route to get there.

Wanda Czelkowska is Polish and was brought up in the shadow of Stalin’s death. Talking about her series of primitive heads, she said that they represented a third gender. In fact they are so deformed and deeply pitted that they seem to have been conjured from a lunar landscape. More rewarding is ‘Elipse’, a pulled-out ovoid of aluminium which soars through the beautiful entrance hall of Thaddeus Ropac (see photo 4).

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This is a thrilling show which I urge you to see.

‘Land of Lads, Land of Lashes’ Rosemarie Castoro, Wanda Czelkowska, Lydia Okumura is at Thaddeus Ropac at 37 Dover Street until 11 August. Curated by Anke Kempkes.

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