The Seduction of Agnes Scornethope



Who is Agnes Scornethope?


I can see her now, on her knees, scrubbing the front steps of her dingy terraced home, circa 1861. Not much time for joy in her life between the cooking, cleaning and looking after the 12 children.


She is a product of the past, surely. No room for her in our modern world.


Yet I suspect that there is a bit of Agnes in me, and maybe even you.


It is that work ethic;  that perfectionism that keeps one striving beyond what is reasonable. It is the balancing of too many things, each with the potential to be interesting and seductive, yet collectively just too too much. And it is the resultant weariness… the dulling of the experience of life… which makes Agnes in so much need of seduction….  seduction back to life.


So how might we seduce Agnes? What might entice her, tantalize her? Create anticipation and hope? Cause her to laugh, to be intrigued, to be playful? To be prepared to go outside her comfort zone and push her learning edges? To open her senses to an explosion of taste, touch, colour and smell? To fantasize and romanticize?  To open her heart and soul to the exquisite unfolding of self? To help her wake up to life?


You might now be wondering what this exhibition has to do with Agnes and her seduction.


I’ll leave it to you to work that one out.





What's in a title?

Many people have asked me where did the title of the exhibition come from. Well, one day I realised I was being seduced.... not by a love affair in the physical sense but in the sense of being brought into a state of anticipation, excitement, intrigue, some disequilibrium and trepidation... not knowing the rules so out of my comfort zone. There was a sense of playfulness, teasing.

I wondered what it might be like to create a whole experience for my audience where they could experience these facets of seduction. So rather than one piece trying to explore these ideas, which required mental interpretation, what might happen if the way the exhibition was set up intrigued, set up paradoxes, created a  need to explore further (pick up cards and see what they hid... had interesting brochures or accessories that gave more should people wish to go deeper.)

So I wished to create in my exhibition a sense of being to supplement the feeling of energy, lightness and possibilities that the pieces themselves give.

Did I achieve it... well the comments in my visitor book seem to indicate it.

But what was interesting was what else occurred. Many people interpreted the pieces in so many different ways, creating their own narrative for the piece and for the exhibition as a whole.  One woman said to me how much I had done for women, another saying that she brought her boyfriend along to show him that women were more than physical bodies... they were complete fully actualised beings.

So no matter the artist's intentions the meaning is to be made by the viewer. But I wonder whether without my intentions to inform the creation of the pieces and their writings, the possibilities wouldn't have been so emergent.



The individual pieces and their stories can be found in:

Ladies with Attitude 2004 to 2005 , Wall pieces and Female forms

or see a pdf of the booklet

 Gallery Exhibitions Artist at Work

Contact Sue Stack at sue.stack 'at'   (replace 'at' with @)         Available for commission