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Photograph courtesy of the artist. 

7 March 2024

This Month in Art: Artist Scarlett Pochet 

ROSIE LOWITT


Introducing Sleaze’s new spotlight series: This Month in Art, a series which aims to showcase various emerging creatives in the art world. At the end of 2023, Rosie Lowit sat down and talked with up-and-coming figurative artist Emilia Momen. Rosie’s latest installment changes direction, moving away from the painting medium as she conducts conversation with sculptural artist, Scarlett Pochet.

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The February edition of This Month in Art spotlights Scarlett Pochet, an artist in her final year at Slade School of Fine Art. 

 

Scarlett’s practice uses combinations of latex, ribbon, metal and ceramics to produce sculptural forms that bridge the gap between the grotesque and the decorative. Her influences spanning image and text, she tends to explore dynamics of decay and preservation through a still life lens. Informed by literature like Angela Carter’s 1979 The Bloody Chamber, a feminist retelling of traditional folklore and fairy tales, much of her work looks at gender with an aim to subvert victim tropes and instead present narratives that celebrate women. 

 

Scarlett encourages visceral responses of equal discomfort and curiosity in her work, provoking the viewer with clashing choices of natural and artificial material. Her recent pieces consist of latex casts taken from found ornamental objects. Visually engaging with seventeenth century Dutch Vanitas paintings and the Memento Mori trope within them, she likens her making process to “an animal shedding its old, decaying skin or shell to inhabit and embrace a new one.” One of these works, Silken Beauty II, is currently on auction as part of Art On a Postcard’s International Women’s Day Auction, for which the bidding is open until 12 March. 

 

I sat down with Scarlett in February to find out more about her art, her month and her plans for the future.

                                   Silken Beauty II, 2023

What did February look like for you?

A continuation of a really good academic year. I’m on a four year course at Slade and am definitely enjoying this one the most. I’m currently feeling very passionate about my practice. My studio is great; I’m sharing the space with two second years, Femi Themen and Kirsten Franks. They’ve really inspired my work, we bounce off each other a lot as we have similar material interests. 

 

In terms of my practice this month, I’ve recently got into ceramics as its visceral nature compliments the media I tend to use, whether that be papier mache, metal, latex, silk or fabric. It’s a medium I would love to explore further.

Screenshot 2024-02-20 at 19.20.05.png

What’s the best exhibition/art event you’ve been to this month?

My friend Femi Themen’s show at Addis Fine Art, titled The Grounds From Which We Grow, which she put on with Slade PhD student Natasha Burton. I visited a few weeks ago and thought it was really well put together. I loved her material choice, the curation felt very conscious. The show was on until 17 February at Addis Fine Art, London. 

 

I also recently saw a show at The Approach Gallery in Bethnal Green which features the work of artist Paloma Proudfoot, whose work I adore! I love her emulation of texture; she depicts objects that we would imagine as soft and transforms them into hard ceramic structures. She manages to perfectly capture the fluidity of the characters she depicts, which I find so beautiful. The Voice of Play is on at The Approach, London until 30 March.

Book of the month?


I recently read this book called The Second Body by Daisy Hildyard, which discusses the idea that we have two bodies, the first being the one we embody in the physical world, our visceral body. The second is the body we share with animals and our surroundings, kind of like an omnipresent body - we inherently affect our environment. That shared idea of decay has really informed my practice and it’s also given me a more conscious way of thinking about how we interact with the world around us.

Artist of the month?


Not an artist specifically, but I’m currently obsessed with the work of fashion house Maison Margiela at their Artisanal Spring 2024 show for Paris Haute Couture week, which took place at the end of January. The models’ makeup, done by British makeup artist Pat McGrath, looked like wax. My practice tends to merge into fashion and wearable art so I’m particularly interested in campaigns like this one.

Tail of Tales (2024), Latex, Wadding, Metal, Fabric, Ribbon

Let’s take a look at your own work. What recent piece or creative project are you proudest of?

 

Moriah Ogunbiyi and I curated a group exhibition, Papillon, at Dalston Den in December 2023. I’m really proud of that! It was quite an overwhelming experience but in a rewarding way. We did an open call for the show and started receiving a lot of submissions. These came from a mixture of students from Slade and The Bartlett School of Architecture, as well as graduates.


The piece of art I’m especially proud of this month is Tail of Tales, a mermaid tail I created for my Interim Crit (a mid-term review of work). At almost three metres long it plays with ideas of the grotesque, but it’s also decorative. To make this piece I formed bulbous latex bellies which protrude from the scaly body of the work; my aim here was to add a sense of tension by creating stomachs that appear as if they’re constantly about to burst. In doing so, I wanted to reflect the pressures placed upon the female body. It seems that the act of female transformation, be that through ageing or clothing, is something society often perceives as threatening or disgusting. I tried to convey similar ideas of containment, restraint and preservation through specific details in this piece. The tail’s cage-like structure and the gothic waxen ribbons, for example, draw parallels to corsetry. With this in mind, I then wanted to demonstrate an escaping of said frame: the tail curls out of its casing, the empty snail shell now waits for its next inhabitant.  

What’s the best or worst trend you’ve seen this month?


There’s this trend people have latched onto that caters to a cringe aesthetic, particularly in painting and sculpture. I find it a bit aggravating - sometimes it will be random pieces of rubbish or pixelated images that have been put onto a wall with little thought. I feel that calling random objects or popular meme imagery ‘art’ comes from such a place of privilege. 

Installation Image of Scarlett an Moriah's Group Show, Papillon, at Dalsto Den 2023

Lastly, what are your creative goals for 2024?

 

In terms of specific materials, I’ve recently started attending a bronze casting workshop, my creations from which might appear in our degree show! I hope to keep exploring this process in the summer and work with bronze casters to gain some further experience and knowledge. 

 

More broadly speaking this is the year I graduate, so I’ve been considering what I want to do after uni. I’d love to work with props and costumes, but have also been thinking about applying to artist assistant jobs, which will allow me to gain more of an insight into being a practising artist. I am also hoping to apply to residencies; I’m considering the studio residency at the Sarabande as well as opportunities abroad. Throughout this, I definitely want to continue participating in workshops and group shows. 

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You can find more of Scarlett’s work at @scarlettrosepochet_

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