Sausage Fest is an exhibition by UK based artists Jemma Egan and Sheila Rennick curated for ArtBox by Séamus Mc Cormack. Through their diverse practices, questions of taste, aesthetics and class culture are explored through painting, sculpture and moving image where both artists investigate cultural identity through a contemporary lens. Rennick’s paintings based on screen-grabs from online dating applications feature male figures presenting themselves to potential suitors. In stereotypical representations of hyper-masculinity and bravado, each man is depicted in Rennick’s distinctive loose and free styling. Her lurid and unrestricted technique undermines each of the characters’ supposed confident stance. Alongside these portraits is a painting of of a pair of discarded female underwear, perhaps a trophy of a past sexual conquest, an image to allure and arouse, or an imagined interaction. Egan’s sculptural and video works are derived from specific sources references and images based on fast-food products. Like Rennick, Egan explores question of taste, instant gratification or the quick fix. We are fed a diet consisting of mostly pork products, which has obvious sexual connotations, banger. A video work of a pussy’s tail seductively swaying from side to side further implicates the viewer.
Rather than looking from the outside, both artists are rooted within the context and culture they are referencing, so despite hints of satire and humour, there is still a certain affinity with the subject-matter. Together Egan and Rennick demonstrate a palpable interest in what lies between what we might desire or hold in disgust. Furthermore, the work included in Sausage Fest not only alludes towards sexuality, but pokes at our abject and engrained needs.