Betty Woodman: Theatre of the Domestic at ICA


Theatre of the Domestic, the first UK solo exhibition by American contemporary artist and ceramist, Betty Woodman, is on now at ICA enlivening its galleries with a playful and vibrant collection of mixed media works created within the past ten years.

There’s something expressly joyful – and delightfully clunky – about Woodman’s art. By clunky I don’t mean inelegant or slapdash, but aware of the wobbles, contours and juts that allow an object or set of objects to be idiosyncratic and pronounced in space – to “take an arbitrary group of forms and make a composition” as Woodman has put it.


In particular, Woodman’s freestanding glazed earthenware sculptures and large-scale wall pieces suggest an adept understanding of how to toy with visual depth to great effect. Many of her works appear to lay claim to the space around them while equally resonating fragile vulnerability.

A cheery palate of colours throughout Theatre of the Domestic means it is all the more enjoyable to admire and seems to cast a decidedly pleasant but nonetheless defiant smile at contemporary art conventions established during the 65 years spanning Woodman’s prodigious career.


Betty Woodman: Theatre of the Domestic runs until 10 April 2016 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH. Entry to the ICA is with Day Membership, set at £1. Day Membership includes access to art exhibitions and displays, as well as use of facilities such as the café bar and free WiFi. Find out more at

About tikichris

Chris Osburn is the founder, administrator and editor of tikichris. In addition to blogging, he works as a freelance journalist, photographer, consultant and curator.
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