Shiny Black Thoroughbred, a new project by Anna Clawson and Nicole Ward, continues their investigation into the volatility of hierarchy and Machiavellian strategies of ambition. Contained within manufactured and fictional settings, television sitcoms become metaphors to hint at the lack of progress and horizontal movements within closed networks. In their installation, thresholds between interiors are suggested to act as both an entrance and an exit, with the external world only penetrating the characters lives through carefully controlled techniques.
The title emanates from August Sander’s photograph The Notary (1924), in which a Doberman’s shiny coat mirrors that of his master’s heavy black shoes. The film Dogtooth (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2009) comes to bear, wherein the character of the Doberman is both a status symbol and an expression of power through behaviour training. In Dogtooth, this dog, whom paradoxically is trained by outside professionals, is one of the hermetically partitioned family unit’s few links to general society. In the words of the film’s dog trainer, ‘Every dog is waiting for us to show it how it should behave’.
Anna Clawson and Nicole Ward were born 1986/1987 in Northern Ireland and live in Bristol.
Clawson and Ward studied Fine Art at University College Falmouth and have their studio at Spike Island, Bristol. Recent solo projects include Free Home Delivery, Malonioji 6, Vilnius, LT; Sharp Like A Horizontal Guillotine, Nida Art Colony, Neringa LT (both 2013); As Seen From Ground Level, The Motorcycle Showroom, Bristol, UK; and Send in the Reserves, Motorcade/FlashParade, Bristol, UK (both 2011). Selected group projects include We Are All Alternative Structures, TAP, Southend-on-Sea, UK; Overdubbed Scenes, CRATE, Margate, UK (both 2013); Capgras Proxy, Z-Shed, Bristol, UK and HIJACK, Stapleton Road Tavern, Bristol ,UK (both 2012). They have recently completed residencies at Curfew Tower in Cushendall, Northern Ireland and at the Nida Art Colony in Neringa LT. Clawson and Ward also organise STUDIO 36, a self-initiated residency series hosted in their Bristol studio.