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CHELSEA ARNOTT: Words About Love

This month’s Artbox commission is by Chelsea Arnott. Her artwork 'You Coulda Been the Luv of Me Life' draws inspiration from contemporary feminist artists, especially those that use textual references to autobiography, memory and emotion.

Inscribed with bittersweet phrases and thoughts directly from her own journal, her paintings tell us about the heartbreak of a young woman, whilst simultaneously inviting us to reminisce about our own past or failed relationships.

U Still Cross My Mind

 ‘U Still Cross My Mind’
(2018) Chelsea Arnott

Scrawled over a canvas awash with colour, with some sections painted over or rubbed off and left behind as evidence of the painting process, this month’s Art Club commission, ‘Ya Coulda Been the Luv of Me Life’ reminds us of our own messy romantic entanglements.

Detail of 'Ya Coulda Been The Luv of Me Life'

Detail of ‘You Coulda Been the Luv of Me Life’ by Chelsea Arnott

Since the conceptual and pop art movements of the 1960s, artists have been using text as an important tool in modern and contemporary art. Taking focus away from the visual form, language and text based art invites us to think about ideas and emotions, where our interpretation is coloured by our own experiences.

Another Hollywood Dream Bubble Popped
‘Another Hollywood Dream Bubble Popped’
(1976) Ed Ruscha

Feminist artists in the 1980s and ‘90s began using text art as a political strategy (Barbara Kruger’s ‘Your Body is a Battleground’ and the Guerrilla Girls’ ‘The Advantages of Being a Woman Artist’ ), as well as a vehicle to openly express more personal thoughts and feelings, such as Jenny Holzer’s ‘Protect Me From What I Want’ and Tracey Emin’s ‘Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-95’.


‘Untitled (Your body is a battleground)’
(1989) Barbara Kruger
‘The Advantages of Being a Woman Artist’

(1988) Guerrilla Girls

‘Untitled (Protect Me From What I Want)’
(1982, Times Square, NYC) Jenny Holzer

‘Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-95’
(1995) Tracey Emin