Northern Deviants | Unit 3 Projects


In 1858 doctors claimed increasing social authority as ‘experts’ with the birth of the ‘General Medical Council’. This expertise allowed and encouraged them to categorise many swathes of humanity with impunity. One of these pathological classifications grouped ‘homosexuals’ as ‘deviants’.
Deviant /ˈdiːvɪənt/
1. departing from usual or accepted standards, especially in social or sexual behaviour.
2. a deviant person or thing.

Northern Deviants is a duo show by Lou Bennett and Bex Massey. As the title would attest-both artists are Northern and Queer, and this common experience runs deep in their respective practices, situating them outside of something, and inside something
else, together. This common experience is something that both artists process in their work, making paintings to make sense of a childhood of hidden experience and difference. Both artists are steadfastly northern, Bennett coming from the North-West and Massey from the North-East. Their practices are riddled with references to this shared heritage, and both artists have found it important to position themselves as northern artists within a London-centric art world.

The pandemic has engendered self-reflection in both artists and exaggerated certain aspects of their practice. For Massey, the past two years have focused her research into LGBTQIA+ history and the ripple effects of Section 28 on herself and a generation of Queer children in the UK. For Bennett, working through COVID has also meant a deeper reflection on self, working through themes of childhood, landscape, and loss. This is the artist’s first exhibition since coming out as non-binary and it represents the beginning of a new creative threshold. This exhibition has enabled Bennett and Massey to reflect on the changing perceptions to place and person. Both artists have produced small bodies of work for ‘Northern Deviants’ which reflect a latent positivity in reclaiming the title. The works in this exhibition are a departure from previous ways of thinking, feeling, and making.

Bex Massey and Lou Bennet

PV 6-9pm Thursday 24th March

Show continues by appointment 25th-27th March

Unit 3 Projects,
ASC Studios, Unit 3,
Empson Street,
E3 3LT

Northern Deviants / Bex Massey + Lou Bennet
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