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UnTurning is the first exhibition in the UK & Ireland by Canadian-born and New York-based painter Ambera Wellmann.
Wellmann’s paintings negotiate the devastation of the present, one in which the cultural logic of heteronormativity and capitalism are naturalised in the human psyche. Traversing distinctions between human and animal, and figure and ground, Wellmann visualises an illogical state where bodies transmute. Populated with elusive figures and motifs manifesting in uncanny physical forms, Wellmann’s works embody processes of erasure and revision, engaging with the potential of chance, vulnerability, and failure.
Wellmann bends the rigidity of art history by plucking from specific paintings across differing eras. UnTurning, the eponymous work in the exhibition, recalls The Study of Feet and Hands, 1818–1819 by Théodore Géricault in preparation for his masterpiece The Raft of the Medusa of the same year. The artist’s preparatory painting of fragmented body parts reveals a strange sense of tenderness amidst the horrors of the naval frigate Medusé. Harking back to the body in a fragmented state, Wellmann’s UnTurning is composed of cutouts of multiple paintings that were reassembled within an expansive, horizontal canvas, refusing to rest within a single temporal understanding. The cutouts are estranged from their original context: constructed from the detritus of rejected works, UnTurning proposes a deconstruction of desire.
Wellmann’s use of horizontality engenders a democracy of bodies, allowing for a recapitulation of meaning. Through a compelling exploration of figuration, she deconstructs the horizontal domain of the bed, and in such inherently internal spaces, her amorphous figures resist the binaries of active and passive, male and female. The subjects in Wellmann’s paintings navigate the potentiality of their present circumstances and endeavour to generate a domain informed by the ethos of queer futurity.
Image: Milk Watcher, 2019. Photo credit: Simon Mills
The safety of our visitors and staff is a top priority, so to help us manage the number of people in the MAC at any one time, we are asking you to pre-book your gallery visit.
Booking your gallery visit
Click the pink link above to begin the booking process. You'll land on our gallery booking page where you'll click Book Now and select the date and time you wish to visit this exhibition. These are listed as 30 min slots, and you can arrive at the MAC anytime within that 30min time slot. Next tell us how many will be attending – our exhibitions are free to visit, but you can choose to add a donation to your booking. At this difficult time, we are more grateful than ever for those who give financially towards our work – your donations truly make a difference.
To complete your booking, we’ll ask you for some personal details including a contact telephone number for Track and Trace purposes. Once your booking is confirmed, we will send you a confirmation email, and the day before your visit, we’ll also send an email with some helpful information for your visit.
On the day of your visit
We have introduced a one-way system at the MAC, as part of our efforts to keep you safe. On arrival, please enter via the door from Exchange Street West. You will be met by a member of staff, or you may have to queue for a few moments.
Please show your e-ticket or print at home ticket, and our staff will check you in and share some further information with you about your visit. You'll be asked for the names and contact details of all members of your party for Track and Trace purposes.
For more information to help prepare you for a visit to the MAC, check out our Keeping You Safe page. There you’ll find a customer journey video, showing you how your visit might look, and answers to our frequently asked questions.