My Deep Secret

Reba Maybury & Will Sheldon

7 July – 3 August 2018

Opening: 7 July 2018, 12-2:30PM

A small room, wallpapered with canvas bearing the work of painter, illustrator, and tattoo artist Will Sheldon. In the center of the room, writer, artist, and dominatrix Reba Maybury has placed a vitrine containing artifacts submitted by her submissives, having asked them for things that reflect their interests and cultural taste. The resulting experience is immersive and museum-like, almost rococo.

As noted by Maybury (Mistress Rebecca to her submissives)–vitrines are most often seen holding “the stolen objects of colonized peoples”. Here instead are donated objects occasionally accompanied by devotional blurbs, little dedications of fear and admiration for their Mistress. Among several portraits done in the likeness of Mistress Rebecca, one screen-print of her visage and neck dominates against a backdrop of the wild cosmos and is punctuated not with a body, but an enormous stiletto PVC boot. We see a framed sheet of Holiday Inn stationary bearing handwritten lyrics to the Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Dosed.” The lyrics are telling of the shallow adoration (and perhaps resentment) this sub feels for the artist: “I got dosed by you, and closer than most to you, and what am I supposed to do, take it away, I never had it anyway…” One photograph from a sub, titled “€350 down the drain”, features his recently purchased “practical” apparel. Jeans and a leather bomber jacket–an expensive, self-conscious and milquetoast derivative of the archetypal mid-century bad boy. The submissives’ oblations are not, in a superficial sense, secretive. Most are ludicrously earnest, but they bely a stagnating self-awareness. The piece is a exploration of absurdity in banality, or as Maybury describes it, “the museum of redundant masculinity.”

Will Sheldon’s brilliantly painted “wallpaper,” as well as other works of his, tend towards a psychedelic playfulness and furtivity. There are sneaky, mischievous, reticent creatures; the objects they spy, snuffle, and pad amongst; and the stirring relationship between them. Sheldon’s work speaks to the original format of a fairy tale–grotesque and slightly hostile. Fractured, oozing eggs and peering, smoldering eyes, bones littered about, stiletto platform boots, flowers, fruit, inscrutable oozes. Some creatures are distinctly feral in their fantasticism. Others are a more anthropomorphized goblinesque: narrowed gazes above chic sunglasses, coquettish and slightly smirking, as if in possession of a private joke. A cosmic joke? A quiet joke about you, the voyeur? Both seem feasible. This world engages through peeking out and peeking in, leaving behind a tantalizing and just-inaccessible contact.

Friends and collaborators of several years, both artists’ work consistently explore voyeurism and exhibitionism, sex, the grotesque, fragility, masking, delusion and the “real”, and extracting the latter from the former. Sheldon’s feral sets of eyes are matched in a photograph of Maybury’s, a submissive’s eyes dolefully peering through a surrounding overlay of revolting, Pepto-Bismol-pink opaque paint (“The Colour of My Skin”). The secrets of a non-linear dimension are bolstered and reflected in the brash, cerebral exploration of the privileged male psyche, and vice versa. Each body of work could stand on its own as confrontational and unsettling, witty and bizarre, but the symbiosis of the immensely different styles and mediums create the pleasure of this surreal little museum.

Workslist (from left to right):

Will Sheldon
The Spiderwebs, 2018
Acrylic paint, canvas, thread & dental floss, fabric: 213 x 578 x 3 cm

Reba Maybury
Precious Expressions, 2018
Wooden painted vitrine containing the precious expressions of Mistress Rebecca’s submissive men
executed under her orders, perspex cover: 153 x 102 x 91 cm

Precious Expressions 1-13:

  1. Say it Loud
    Graphic design by the french graphic designer. Digital print on canvas: 40 x 30 cm
  2. Work wear
    Ann Summers Sexy Secretary Outfit size 16-18. Pencil skirt, sheer shirt and lense-less glasses.
    Polyester and plastic. Made in China. Bought by Barrel aka Mistress Rebecca’s receptionist: 36 x
  3. Taking a walk in his shoes
    Leather and lace. Size 44, well worn. Sold and bought in Norway. Made anywhere, walked nowhere.
    Worn by Barrel: 32 x 22cm
  4. Horsey’s head
    Rubber horse head mask. From Horsey and often worn at night clubs in Essex and on video call to Mistress Rebecca. Made in China: 40 x 29cm
  5. Ben
    Screen print on paper, depicting The French Hipster Tattooer’s abysmal vision of Mistress Rebecca:
    43 x 30cm
  6. Pinky the Profound
    Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It – Wisdom of the Great Philosophers on How to Live. Soft back book. With note to Mistress Rebecca. Originally printed in 2015, reprinted in 2017:
    20 x 25.5cm
  7. Romance is Alive
    Lyrics of Dosed (2002) by Red Hot Chili Peppers on Holiday Inn paper with envelope by The White
    Buddhist: 30x21cm
  8. The sound of Mistress Rebecca’s voice is?
    Watercolour on cartridge paper and accompanying essay by Barrel: 29.5 x 47cm
  9. €350 down the drain
    Framed photo. A4. Photo shows the product of a day shopping for new ‘practical clothing’ bought by
    Barrel while under financial domination: 30.5 x 21cm
  10. A lovely woman
    Photograph of a framed pencil portrait of Mistress Rebecca digitally printed on canvas. Originally
    drawn by Screeny: 30 x 20cm
  11. What’s his is mine – My of ice. He works for me.
    Photographic print depicting Barrel’s work desk where he works for Mistress Rebecca in Oslo: 50cm
    x 20.5cm
  12. Style and Attitude….
    V neck blue Henry Choice cotton t-shirt size: L. Donated by Barrel from his wardrobe: 24 x 31cm
  13. ‘The colour of my skin and respectful eyes for Mistress Rebecca 2018’
    Acrylic, printed paper and pen on canvas with accompanying essay by Pinky: 30x42cm

Will Sheldon
Small Web, 2018
Acrylic paint, canvas, thread & dental floss, fabric: 30 x 23 x 2 cm

Reba Maybury
Submissions, 2018
A4 folder of applications by submissive men to serve Mistress Rebecca.

Will Sheldon
Looking for Eggs, 2018
Acrylic paint, canvas, thread & dental floss: 121.5 x 91 x 2.3 cm


Will Sheldon
Misty in the Skyline, 2018
Pencil and crayon on paper, framed: 23.5 x 18.5 x 2 cm

Will Sheldon
Tay of Love, 2018
Pencil and crayon on paper, framed: 23.5 x 18.5 x 2 cm

Will Sheldon
Self Portrait with Misty, 2018
Pencil and crayon on paper, framed: 23.5 x 18.5 x 2 cm

Will Sheldon
The Masterpiece, 2018
Pencil and crayon on paper, framed: 43 x 39 x 7 cm

Reba Maybury
Of ice Piece, 2018
Artefact from Barrel’s office, created under direction by Mistress Rebecca. Framed digital print of hi-res
image sourced online: 61 x 41 x 2 cm

Will Sheldon
Bee Snif er, 2018
Watercolour and pen on paper, framed: 33.5 x 43.5 x 3 cm

Will Sheldon
Lazy Day, 2018
Watercolour, gouache, pen on paper, framed: 33.5 x 43.5 x 3 cm