My Bella: Maisie Broadhead Solo Exhibition
The series is comprised of two distinct bodies of work that are connected by the central figure of Bella, the artist’s sister and muse. Bella has appeared in Broadhead’s images since her very first experiments with photography at the Royal College of Art over ten years ago. Since then, Bella has appeared in many different guises yet she always embodies a sense of quietude, elegance and poise. The artist comments that, ‘the intimacy of our relationship means we communicate with ease and for me, Bella’s beauty is gentle and touching. I see myself in her, and more importantly, she has a quality of openness and stillness when I am looking at her, which points to a more general human condition.’
The Studio is a group of signature Old Masters style prints, in which Broadhead continues to explore the aesthetic of Vermeer as a conduit for illusion and the uncanny. She uses complex set design and costume to re-present historical elements alongside contemporary props. By doing so, her images link the past and present and identify enduring aesthetic and social narratives – such as family, the role of women, and the aura of the artist’s studio.
Rear Window, a set of five sculptural installation pieces, was specially commissioned for a major show at the UK’s National Glass Centre in 2019. Broadhead was inspired by her neighbour's discarded Victorian sash windows during their building works. The artist collected and hung them in her studio, spending many months with them before arriving at her final idea for the series, in which she creates the Hitchcockian rooms and worlds beyond the window frames.
Ambiguity, a recurrent theme in Broadhead's work, lies at the heart of these images: ‘There is no easy narrative. As with real neighbours, in the glimpses we have into each other’s lives, knowledge is partial, obscured by our own preconceptions.’ (Annie Warburton, Through the Looking Glass: Caroline Broadhead and Maisie Broadhead, 2019).