Ally Sloper

2013/2021

tempered polished glass
installation dims variable

Series: Glazed I’s

Pairing the glamour of glass and the allure of transparency with brilliant reflections and stark geometry, Ally Sloper strips bare and rebuilds a narrative of authorship, activism, gender, culture and commerce. Inspired by the lounging satiric Ally Sloper, a super-star cartoon character in the Victorian Judy magazine, the abstract figure describes an elusive presence in public space. From subversive working class hero and theatrical character to potentially the first mass-merchandised fictional icon, Ally Sloper slid between worlds as a protagonist and an object of desire. The translucent figure arcs between wall and floor, requiring each equally for form and support. Also self-referential, an authorial 'I', Ally Sloper indicates an absent authorial presence. Marie Duval (pseudonym of the French actress Emilie de Tessier) who developed the character Ally Sloper and collaborated on the drawings with her husband, novelist Charles Henry Ross, was not attributed as co-author. Likely to have been Europe's first professional woman cartoonist, her talent and achievements slipped into obscurity, a ghostly presence in time and space.

"Ally Sloper is a very powerful, yet elegant demonstration of how an artist can draw a viewer in, hold their attention, and cause them to reflect and respond to not only the sculpture itself, but the surrounding space it occupies." (Prof. Mark Swain,  Lewis University Chicago)