The sensory underworld of Cathie Pilkington and Jay Cloth heads to Space Station Sixty-Five

By Ben Miller | 01 February 2011
An image of a sculpture of a small doll lying prone on top of a plinth on a wooden table
Cathie Pilkington, Levitating Doll© Cathie Pilkington
Exhibition: Misericord, Space Station Sixty-Five, London, February 25 – May 1 2011

“Both artists have a knack for creating an intense response in the viewer – almost to the point of overload, like holding down all the keys on a church organ,” observes curator Jo David, discussing this distinctly northern collaboration of a show between Manchester lass Cathie Pilkington and Lancashire fancy dress lover Jay Cloth.

“I feel that all my buttons are being pushed at once, but never tipping over the edge into absolute parody or grotesquery. I am at once aware of my response to the work and distracted from that by the seduction of it.”

An image of a painting of a woman with a pink face with colours exploding out of her hair against a black background
Jay Cloth, Lucy© Jay Cloth
Mentored by former Turner Prize contender Paula Rego (“when I came to Cathie's work, I felt it had been in me all along”, she says), impish sculptor Pilkington has used painting, craft and imagery from tacky souvenirs and children’s books in the “wunderkammer” underworld she has constructed with Cloth, a 40-year-old known for manning the door at infamous London nightclub Duckie while donning a range of unnerving costumes.

His profane collages are wrought from vintage colour lithographs into a final, unsettling Technicolor glory.

“For a long time I was too nervous to talk to Jay at Duckie,” confesses co-curator Rachael House.

“I could only gaze in awe at him in his grotesque finery. I wasn’t so scared of Cathie until I saw her work. I have enormous admiration for these two artists and I eagerly wait to see what remarkable chemistry takes place when they join forces for Misericord.”

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