SIRENS by Dawn Mellor
A4, 132 pages, Full colour printed, Perfect bound, Hard cover, 2019
In a series of paintings, female police officers from British television shows such as Happy Valley and The Bill are positioned in an array of apocalyptic settings: freezing, burning, and backdropped by flooding. The accompanying text chronicles an acute feeling of being watched, what it feels like to watch whoever is watching you, or, as Mellor writes, how it feels to be kettled in your own flat, by your own paintings.
Fragmented accounts map the protagonist’s shifting relationship to crime, gender, class and sexuality from multiple perspectives: as a child in Gamesley in the ‘70s, a lesbian performer in sex clubs in the mid ‘90s, an artist with and without gallery representation, and as a lecturer within an academic institution. These changes of position mix the language of a rally cry with an acerbic satire of the authorial voice and everyone they encounter.