Rebecca Binns
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Post Crass introspection
Postmodernism and the anti-rationalist avant-garde
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Following Crass’ disbandment in 1984, Vaucher’s artwork took a back seat, partly due to her caring for her dying mother. As the 1990s dawned, her work took a distinct shift towards more introspective themes as her solo output flourished. This included series of paintings and pastel drawings concentrated on partial abstractions of the human form. A lifelong preoccupation with animal rights is reflected in her work from this period, as are concerns with human abuses of power. She turned again R. D. Laing’s ideas on the repression inherent in the functioning of the traditional family unit, and much of her work formed a critique of the way that societal institutions curtail the freedom of children. While Vaucher’s approach was indebted to certain early twentieth-century avant-garde art movements, as with punk, the radicalism and emancipatory ethos she embodied was also rooted in the early expression of postmodernism as a route to freedom from dominant ideologies. This stands in contrast to the debased manifestation of postmodernism – as an oppressive cultural embodiment of the emerging economic order – that dominated by the 1990s. The alternative approach she maintained stands in marked contrast to the sensationalism that dominated the art world at the time, notably with the Young British Artists (YBA) movement. Their output is critiqued in relation to 1970s communal artists COUM, in relation to Vaucher’s work with Crass, and with her less overtly didactic approach in the 1990s, which still managed to invest her work with meaning.

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Gee Vaucher

Beyond punk, feminism and the avant-garde


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