Sweetest Downfall, 2019
Mixed media on fabric
82 x 64 cm
20% will be donated to the NHS
Sweetest Downfall was created by Marshall for her debut solo exhibition ‘The Redemption of Delilah’ which was centred around the biblical story of Samson and Delilah, but also spoke to universal themes of love, loss and guilt.
In the piece we see a linocut print of a snapshot moment before a kiss, moonlit colours. Hand-embroidered in pink thread is the artists own text; ‘precious boy, let me take your pain away and be your sweetest downfall.’
Sweetest downfall refers to Samsons fate, the feeling of doomed love, the sickly sweet ecstasy followed by the inevitable twist of fate. It is also a quote from the song ‘Samson’ by Regina Spektor.
Above the central image are two eyes which are delicately hand beaded, perhaps the eyes of God, overseeing and knowing the fate, beaded tears rolls down the piece. The motif of the eye is also present in the Samson story, where he is eventually blinded.
Underneath the fringing of the central image two embroidered bodies are seen crawling, the fringing acting almost like a tablecloth. The half-hidden figures echo a base desire, as they crawl towards each other, a bitten apple between them, Biblical connotations of lust and original sin.
Alexi Marshall (UK, 1995) graduated from the Slade School of Art in 2018.
Marshall works in linocut print, fabric, drawing and embroidery investigating themes of spirituality, sexuality, womanhood and youth. In utilizing embroidery and fabric in a fine art context she seeks to subvert connotations of gendered craft, colour and imagery. Alexi uses these materials which for so long have folded into the tradition of ‘women’s work’ to create unapologetic imagery of women in their bold sexuality, divinity and unconstrained freedom, moved by notions of radical softness.
Marshall was selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries, with exhibitions at the Liverpool Biennial and South London Gallery and more recently was part of an exhibition at Sara Zanin Gallery in Rome curated by Marcelle Joseph.