Phrase and Fable: Plum Cloutman

23 October - 5 November 2019

Arusha Gallery presents a new body of work by Plum Cloutman inspired by entries found in Brewer’s Phrase and Fable, an 1870 English dictionary of allusions, proverbs, stories and figures.

Manipulating language to represent abstract concepts is difficult. As language is constructed and human behaviour is natural the two will never quite correlate exactly. The result is a long history of odd turns of phrase that attempt to help us understand our very being. Cloutman's act of transforming these phrases back into images serves as a mirror for the English language, and allows us to recognise our inherent ridiculousness. 


The paintings and drawings in this series grew out of these entries, either directly interpreting the immediate image, or channeling the meaning through a more oblique narrative. Stories thread their way, directly and indirectly, through the entirety of this body of work, illuminating weird facets of our language as we grasp to understand how we perceive and interact with the world