Lex Shute is a London-based sculptor working predominantly in glass, agates, lead, steel and concrete, and a painter in oils using techniques of automatism and free association.
Addressing the relationship between spiritual discourse, feminism and the natural world, her practice explores speculative world building. With a background in Anthropology she traverses different time periods and cultures to explore aspects of female power in reference to mythic archetypes, the feminine divine, witchcraft, visionaries, mediumship, the occult, and craft.
Shute’s work reflects on the primacy of the natural world in our spiritual development, from the chemical enlightenment of natural hallucinogens and their impact on the evolution of human consciousness, to the supposed magical properties of crystals, semi-precious stone and the vision inducing material of glass.
With an interest in fictional realities and sci-fi utopianism, Shute explores the correspondences between trans-historical belief systems and cultural practices to propose an alternative society with alternate power relations. Taking inspiration from Donna Haraway’s theory of Speculative Fabulation, which uses speculative fiction, fantasy, feminisms and fabulation to propose an alternative past or future. It’s a storytelling that develops new worlds through questioning what is possible and what could have taken place.
Shute read Sociology at the University of Greenwich prior to studying Fine Art at the University of the West of England, subsequently gaining a Postgraduate Diploma from Chelsea College of Art and a Masters degree in Painting from the Royal College of Art in 2019.
The title acknowledges Helene Cixous’ Ecriture Feminine, a call to arms for women to “write her self” in a textual strategy of resistance. Proposing alternative imaginaries around the myth of the Medusa I reclaim this victim of patriarchal violence, object of male desire and fear, and reframe her as the her-o. Mythically, her spilt blood gives life to serpents, coral and related species, while turning other life-forms to stone with a petrifying glance. She subsequently becomes a symbol of evil to deter other evils.
Recasting this story as a feminist mythology, the crimes against her are also the (manmade) crimes against the natural world. Reframing the female body as a weapon, previously petrified under the male gaze, I take this symbol of her evil eye and give her divine (in)sight. Medusa reclaims her body and her power and with clarity of vision unleashes it against the earth’s enemies.
Using the spirit of Lewis Carroll’s Alice as a guide I explore the inherently transporting and visionary nature of glass. The notion of spiritual agency in this ancient and futuristic material is reflected on through the philosophy of Aldous Huxley. The Utopian potential of glass is viewed through the lens of the Expressionist Paul Scheerbart and its fictional nature passed through the prism of Professor Donna Haraway’s theory of Speculative Fabulation.
Invited by the PSSA to present a paper on less familiar sculptural materials, with a focus on glass, alongside artists Gabriel Beveridge and Julia Crabtree.
Written for a live performance and DJ set under the alias Angel of Anarchy. The concept, lyrics and artwork inspired DJ and singer Tiddles to launch a female-focused record label under the same name: Bitches Witches.
A sound and text piece based on thoughts of atmosphere, folk horror and mycorrhizal invasion inspired by a blustery pilgrimage to Dungeness to visit Prospect Cottage and the Sound Mirrors under the imposing shadow of the Nuclear Power Station.