Butler Gallery is pleased to present Precarious Freedom an exhibition by Joy Gerrard that includes a series of drawings and paintings made during 2020 and 2021 and new, large-scale installation works. This touring exhibition has been curated by Aoife Ruane, Director of Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda where it was first shown in June 2021 and which then travelled to the Galway International Arts Festival in September 2021.
In Dark Europe, Gerrard has stripped the colour from all 27 national flags in the European Union. This work was conceived as a response to Brexit; however, Gerrard now considers it as an elegy or mourning work, post Covid. It’s unified, monochrome sculptural form might prompt us to reflect on how the pandemic has reinforced nationhood, borders and blocs.
In response to very recent protests focusing on women’s rights and freedoms, Gerrard has made Barrier, a free standing eight-metre-long painting. Barrier 1 reproduces a helicopter view of the Sisters Uncut protest that moved through central London after the vigil for Sarah Everard. Importantly for the subjects of Gerrard’s work, the Sarah Everard protest also marked a moment overshadowed by a new and disputed UK Police Bill, the intent of which is to radically increase state powers to control public demonstrations.
At the present juncture then, Gerrard’s years of documentation and reflection on protesting crowds allow a further set of questions about the fate of the politicised crowd amid new state responses in the UK to resistance, populism and protest.