Lo, the Prodigal Daughter has returned; what was dead is alive & what was lost is found. After a decade wandering strange lands - London and Stockholm - Amy Worrall (b. 1989) is back in the place of her birth. Like the father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Norwich has welcomed her home with open arms, celebrating the ceramic artist’s return with her first solo UK exhibition.
But this is where the ‘New Testament’ similarities end, because Worrall has not come to ask for forgiveness. To provoke and delight, yes; to apologise or make amends, no.
In her vision of Norwich, serpents twist around the tower of City Hall. Sixteen almost-self-portraits open their mouths in expressions of delight, of horror, of madness. Are the references to Rembrandt and his Prodigal Son, dotted through this exhibition, a tribute, a parody or outright mockery? Perhaps all of the above. In Worrall’s work the self is fractured, and coming home offers no wholeness.
The Prodigal Daughter may reject the very idea of homecoming but - with its abundant colour and shimmering gloss - it echoes the unexpected joy of the parable. This is not a celebration of return but a celebration of the impossibility of return. Losing one’s bearings has never seemed so tempting. Losing one’s mind has never been so much fun.
- Theo Merz, Journalist & Writer