Zoe Ley

My practice employs kitsch phrasing and the theatrical staging of objects as devices that play on themes of death and intoxication with a macabre humour.

Drawing from camp theory as interpreted by Susan Sontag in Notes on Camp, my works are frivolous and anti-serious, mimicking historical forms that traditionally fall under high art or artifact and cross-referencing them with kitsch phrasing and imagery, that exist within a niche of British culture. My 3D works often employ casting, imitating aesthetics from history of art with an artificial materiality. Placed under the spotlight of the gallery and dramatically staged instances, ideas of class and taste are challenged as the kitsch is disguised behind a sense of seriousness as well as being glorified in its display.
Within this visual language, objects such as a novelty gin glass can be combined with William Hogarth’s 18th century poem describing the horrors of the Gin Craze, whilst kitsch phrasing found on doormats and novelty homeware can be embedded within the mimicking of an excavated Pompeian mosaic.

Stemming from my photography series capturing beams of light on mundane objects within the area I live, my work comes from an aim in recreating the sense of revery found in religious spaces within my everyday space and within the gallery, having been raised Catholic but now navigating my secular environment as an adult. Within the setting up of my works in the gallery space, the theatre of the gallery and religious spaces are played upon, and the kitsch artificial object is both revered and glorified.

Email: zoeley6039@gmail.com 

Instagram: @zoeley_art


Gin Cursed Fiend, 2022. Engraved gin glass displayed in a set up with found objects and a candle Includes words taken from the poem in William Hogarth’ work Gin Lane (1750-51)

Memento Mori (Live Laugh Love) 2021. Installation shot with candles.