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The Secret Society - a Sculptural Banquet

Pitzhanger Manor & PM Gallery
Walpole Park
Mattock Lane
London W5 SEQ

19 April – 9 June

This spring the Soane Suite is being transformed into a most unusual banquet – the invited guests all members of a secret society but also entirely made of plaster.

This curious group is wearing extraordinary costumes that range from the stylish to the surreal, adorned with outrageous hats and unexpected accessories or unusual collars and cloaks. Their lavish dinner party has everything one could wish for – overflowing bowls of exotic fruit, magnificent multi-tiered cakes, decanters of wine, vases of flowers and candelabra– only as with the guests all is immortalised in bright white plaster.
The Secret Society is the first solo exhibition of acclaimed London-based artist and designer Kathy Dalwood, and is the first time that her celebrated Plaster Bust collection has been shown in its entirety.

Following Sir John Soane's own liking for staging 'Gothic Banquets', Dalwood’s sculptural portrait busts reference sources ranging from Miss Havisham’s house to the Mad Hatter’s tea party, Marie Antoinette’s infamous soirĂ©es to classical bacchanalia, masked balls and Venetian carnivals. The mysterious associations are not stuck in the distant past however and also display the influence of the modernist avant garde and the world of extreme sculptural fashion.

Casting directly from real objects as diverse as model buildings, haberdashery and electrical and plumbing components, these eclectic materials are sourced from  flea markets, model shops, fabric shops, hardware stores, charity shops and tourist souvenir stalls. Inventively combining and adapting these resources, Dalwood creates costumes, accessories, hairstyles and headgear that bring the tradition of the plaster bust into the 21st Century.

Speaking about the exhibition, Dalwood comments: “Pitzhanger Manor was designed for busts! There are niches, plinths and mantelpieces everywhere. But given that I perceive the busts as a group of strange, detached characters occupying their own world, I thought it would be interesting to stage an event for them, so I’m creating a bizarre banquet. nI hope that visitors will be seduced by the expressive beauty of plaster as a material and that perhaps the busts will steer people’s interest towards figurative sculpture in general, of which there are so many – at times overlooked – diverse and captivating examples in the cities, parks, palaces, cathedrals and museums of the world.”

The Secret Society is curated by PM Gallery & House in association with Matt Price. The installation has been styled in collaboration with Karina Garrick. To celebrate the exhibition, a new plaster bust has been created, inspired by the architecture of Sir John Soane and will be for sale along with other pieces from the collection.

Find out more about Sir John Soane and his Lincoln's Inn town house here

Exhibition tour
Sunday 2 June at 2pm
Please join us for an informal tour of the exhibition with artist Kathy Dalwood and curator Matt Price.
Free – just turn up  

Pitzhanger Manor & PM Gallery website

How to get there:

Tube: Ealing Broadway
Rail:   Ealing Broadway:
10 mins from Paddington main line station, platforms 11,12,13,or 14

8 minute walk from Ealing Broadway station

Bus: 207, 83, 607, E1, E2, 112, 297, PR1, E7, E8

Car park: Ealing Broadway Centre, access via the Grove from Ealing Green. Springbridge Road, access via the New Broadway.

To contact Kathy:

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