Yavuz Gallery Sydney is proud to announce the representation of Adelaide-based artist Solomon Kammer with her debut commercial solo exhibition Cause and Effect.
Working predominantly in painting, Kammer draws on her own experiences with chronic illness, medical science and gender biases to expose the prejudices, challenges and abuses faced by many women today. While Kammer’s work is intensely personal, it also speaks to broader experiences of emotional and physical mistreatment.
Through her large-scale, figurative paintings, Kammer conveys a rawness, a brutality, and a tenderness that both captivates and provokes. She depicts naked female bodies being manipulated, controlled, touched, handled and held in positions that might be perceived at once familiar and disturbing. As the bodies are depicted unclothed, spatial and theoretical significance is given to flesh. Taking over most of the canvas, the flesh becomes a vast terrain to explore. In doing so, Kammer investigates the very notion of bodies as thresholds of experience. Within the field of anthropology, humans are both subject and object – as we simultaneously are a body and have a body.
In Cause and Effect, Kammer specifically examines the female body as a site of gender-based exploitation, infantilisation, abuse and trauma. Drawing on her experience as a person living with chronic illness, Kammer speaks to women’s lack of autonomy within a medical context. While bodily integrity and self-determination are fundamental principles of medical ethics, female patients are often confronted with the dismissal of their pain, paternalism and treatment based on medical data that commonly uses cis-gendered, heterosexual male bodies as the default norm.
Kammer transmutes her emotional states into the corporeal world through an expert application of paint onto canvas. Utilising compositional influences derived directly from photography, she creates metaphorical windows that the viewer is invited to look into. These fragmentary views reinforce impressions of momentariness, suggesting movement continuing beyond the frame. In the works Disturbance and Groundhog Day, severe cropping forces unconventional perspectives, rendering the scenes uncomfortable and confronting. As this type of composition provides a subjective view, it also frames the female body within the historical context of the male gaze. The viewer becomes voyeur.
For this exhibition, Kammer has selected canvases of disparate dimensions and unusual proportions, each adapted to the specific scene and emotion that she depicts. In Cede, the naked model seemingly tries to insert herself within the frame; by contrast, only the shoes of the other figure are visible, while the rest of its body exists outside of the canvas. This composition formally highlights a power imbalance and speaks to the physical and ideological spaces one is allowed, or not, to occupy.
While presenting a clinical and visceral examination of gendered power-imbalances present within a medical context, Solomon Kammer’s latest series of work also offers a portrait of bodies – raw, vulnerable and resilient. And, as the title suggests, Cause and Effect is a subtle commentary on the implications that one person’s actions can have on another.