Nightfall, 2019
acrylic fibre, oak frame
154 x 154 x 6 cm

Renee So’s practice is distinguished by its embrace of craft methods and cross-cultural thinking, an underlying sense of the comedic, and a persistent feminist worldview. The sixteenth- and seventeenth-century German Bartmann (‘bearded man’) or Bellarmine jugs that So encountered in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum have been a dominant source of inspiration for her ceramic objects and ‘knitted paintings’.

So’s knitted paintings, such as Nightfall and Sunset, mock and expose the fragility of male authority figures. Repeating motifs of beards and boots are used to explore outward symbols of masculinity, entitlement and military power, humorously undercut by the introduction of alcohol. In Nightfall, figures clothed in baggy pantaloons collapse against an oversized moon. Only a bottle remains upright: a decadent and poignant end to spent power.

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