Samarra Scott

Samara Scott’s work deals in our most intimate and confused collisions with capitalism’s world of projected glamour, recreating the tenor of burning teenage dreams while displaying a heightened awareness of the crass mass-marketing through which they are shaped. The works are lurid mirages, sensuously direct and yet removed in the same way as the advertising imagery that has colonised the contemporary conscious. However, Scott refuses to take up a master perspective on our collective fantasies, or pass judgment on contemporary society as a whole. Instead, she allows herself to succumb to the overpowering pseudo-romance of 21st century commodification as she spins out its absurdities. She has spoken of the undeniable emotional resonances of generic objects, and rather than simply explain their power she hopes ‘to make art that might over perform itself, pollute itself, oppose itself, and maybe manages to be unresolved.’ Her works refuse closure of any kind, counterpointing the endless pluralism of capitalism with a conjunctive logic.

The artist’s website exists as its own autonomous entity: it features existing works in the form of cropped digital images, awash with squirts of gel and smears of paste. Scott is fascinated with these, the disposable substances that we lather up, daub on or rub into our bodies, handling them until their tactility lurches between ‘smothered pleasure and nausea, comfort and itchiness, sex and vomit, artificial and natural.’ In her digital ecology, moreover, idealised images of oceans plucked from perfume adverts feature alongside this abject materiality. All of these liquids are associated with the private dimension of consumerism that is perhaps particularly pertinent to women, who are aggressively targeted by advertising that plays on fears of stains and the appeal of freshness.

At Scott’s 2013 show at Almanac Gallery, London, voluminous shower curtains, lengths of foam, felt blankets and swathes of organza enveloped the viewer, slowly digesting the cosmetic, edible and chemical cultural detritus that scattered their surfaces. Alongside such loose, free-form environments, Scott’s work often takes the form of three-dimensional mood board-habitats. Using strategically aggregated objects and images, the artist outfits stages suitable for playing out the soap-opera of contemporary life. A television set designed for LuckyPDF TV in 2011 fused 1970’s glamour with the sterility of the corporate lounge, its clashing references ramping up the semiotic mélange produced by postmodernism’s undiscriminating cultural appropriation. More recently, wall-to-wall carpets at Palazzo Peckham (satellite to the 54th Venice Biennial) were patterned in a post-impressionistic ambient-kitsch style that partook equally of ‘80’s adverts, bathroom design and Roman villas.’

Samara Scott was born in London in 1984, where she lives and works. Selected exhibitions include Poems, Almanac Gallery, (2013); Cd0xdsspi, Rowing Projects, London (2013); Verging on the Absurd, Contemporary Art Society, London (2013); Duty Free, Arkas幸irket Foundation, Istanbul, (2012); Young London, V22, London (2012); Samara Scott & Marianne Spurr, Seventeen Gallery, London (2012); Seriously connected old Grey Hair, Christopher Crescent at HD: Projects, New York (2012); Four Seasons, Arts&Jobs, London (2012); Stereopsis, The Drawing Room, London (2012); and the response, the Sunday Painter, London (2012).