Surrounded by studies in the exhibition, it was impossible to escape the phallic implications of the drill. Plunging in to the ground with an excessive energetic enthusiasm I did not stand long in its shadow. What an aggressive attack on womanhood it seemed. When Jessie Dismorr describes her 'arrogant spiked tresses', 'the new machinery that wields the chains of muscles fitted beneath/ my close coat of skin.' I can't help feeling that she is considering herself in relation to this intimidating masculine machinery.
The Rock Drill returns us to primitivism, it is totemic and archetypal masculinity. Incorporating actual machinery Epstein's sculpture warns of the advent of a new age where even humanity and that most human of actions, sex, has become automatised. But for the man there is an exciting rush of power that comes with it. Whereas as a woman I retreat from the sculpture, to the back of the room where I can't hear the clamour of the drilling any longer.
In my research I am learning new things about Richard Cork, the curator of the exhibition who has also written about Vorticism, there is a glimmer of a suggestion of his misogyny, of his exclusion of Dismorr and Saunders from his discussions. It only sharpens the light thrown on Rock Drill; its use as the exhibition poster, book front and back cover, its centrality to the thinking and overall impression of the exhibition.