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Girl on Girl   17 Jan - 8 Feb 2004    Fri - Sun  1-6

Delaine Le Bas

Installation View - Delaine Le Bas

  Delaine Le Bas asks “what are little girls made of” as she twists and collages her female subjects, disrupting and adding layer upon layer of meaning. “Don’t be fooled by appearances, take a closer look, laugh, be disgusted, like it, hate it but stop being one of the sheep”.

Delaine is a celebrated Outsider artist, she was in Dead or Alive at James Coleman and Scritch Scratch at Transition

Arty interviews Delaine

Where did you grow up? Worthing, West Sussex

Is there a new Girly sensibility in Art?

A lot of work is passing as ‘Girly’ when actually it is sensationalist in its nature. It is really important not to confuse the two.

What star sign are you? Cancer

What influences and inspires you?

Anything and everything. For instance, looking out of my back window at the garden sheds, plants, gnomes. Walking past a wall with grafitti, a bag of discarded clothes; what’s their story, who did they belong to? Crossing the railway bridge, noticing the dog shit, Anarchy signs and rubbish. Hearing Elvis coming out of the window of a passing car

Is it important or irrelevant for women artists to engage with the art world on a political level?

Althogh I have strong opinions on the politics of the Art World I refuse to be contaminated by it.

Is your work particularly female or feminine?
My work probably comes over as being very female and feminine because of my use of materials and techniques (fabric, sewing, lots of sequins, dolls etc) But historically working with these materials has not been specifically a female domain. Maybe I’m drawing people in by the prettiness of the work only for them to see that nothing is quite as it seems.

Do you think little girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice?

It’s the same as “little girls should be seen and not heard” well we all know what Polystyrene had to say about that - “Oh bondage Up yours”. I’m not sure where nursery rhymes as such came into being but they are in a similar vein and project a similar image. I remember being small and trying to get my little brothers and sister to eat mud pies, playing football, pretending to be in Star Wars but wanting to be an Action hero. I thought what was the big idea about girl’s toys and boy’s toys - aren’t they just all toys. There are differences of course and it is a differnt perspective on things but I hardly think that girls are all sugar and spice and all things nice. There are plenty of women in history that do not fit the picture and would definately equal their male counterparts for evil and wrongdoing and there are men who have shown compassion and understanding equal to the most caring women. Trying not to be a stereotype of any form is the important issue and remembering that none of us can have our cake and eat it. without worrying about being politically correct the most important thing is to be true to ones self and stop being one of the sheep. Personally I love dressing in a great frock, but after about half an hour in my high heels, which I adore and have a huge collection of I always have to resort to comfort footwear (usually my converse), and who cares because I don’t, I’ve both appealed to my vanity and known what my physical limitations are. It suits me fine and if more of us just did exactly that maybe the world would be a better place for both girls and boys. Remember that Action Man is a Doll!


This interview appears in the Feb 2004 issue of Arty


See Delaine's first solo show Room - June/July 2005