Maisie Cousins: ‘Dipping Sauce’
With Elephant West launching as the new go-to creative and gallery space in London recently we take a look at the work of their first collaborator, the marvellous Maisie Cousins
For an artist there can be few better feelings than being recognised from your art more than you’re recognised by your face. That’s our presumption anyway. If it’s true then photographer Maisie Cousins must be feeling pretty good most of the time. Her work has an unmistakably ‘Maisie’ quality about it that seems almost as distinctive as a signature. It’s one of the reasons why she’s one of the hottest art photographers on the scene at the moment. It might sound counter-intuitive to describe her work as distinctly ‘beautiful/not beautiful’ but study the images long enough it will soon all start to makes sense. Some might say that’s the genius of her art – the ability to make you examine and ponder as opposed to just standing and looking.
It’s this desire to explore the truth behind the bright lights that has punctuated all of her work since she graduated from Bristol University in 2014 with a degree in fine art photography. And in a story surely written for the digital age, the place she first started to display her work was on social media – the new age exhibition space the whole world (literally) can spend time wandering around. And when you have something to show and/or something to say why wouldn’t you use it to the max?
Take a stroll around her Instagram account and even with her early work you can see how colour and the awkward uncomfortableness of ‘being too close’ fascinated her even then. Sometimes you can’t even be sure exactly what you’re looking at until you let your eyes settle a moment and it begins to reveal itself to you. Sometimes you’re just shocked by how disturbing a mundane scene can seem when viewed through her eyes. This reaction to her work is one shared by many observers. Simon Baker, curator of photography at London’s Tate Modern, chose Maisie’s exhibition, grass, peonie, bum, as one of his top five of 2017. Once you’re standing eye-to-eye with her work you’ll soon begin to understand why she’s becoming so celebrated.
Since graduating Maisie has shown her work at numerous exhibitions, photo festivals and published books over the years and she’s worked with some of the best brands and titles in fashion and media. Yet never has she compromised on her style or aesthetic to fit in within ‘acceptable corporate standards’. Not a bad position for an artist to be in, we think. As if to illustrate that point, London saw a sparkling new creative and exhibition space, Elephant West, open its doors to a grateful public very recently and the artist chosen to set the tone for everything that comes after her? None other than Maisie Cousins. Her specially commissioned series, Dipping Sauce, will be showing there until December 2nd, 2018, and while the preview images here will give you a nice little tasty taste of what’s in store it really doesn’t compare to seeing it IRL. Trust us!
For more on Maisie visit Maisiecousins.com
For more on Elephant West visit Elephant.art