Last Friday, Studio 216 on Harrison Street opened the Corporeal Constructions exhibit to the public. The show featured work by SMFA students that touched on themes of memories, dreams and the metaphysical.
Studio owner Sky Schultz met up with a few talented SMFA students and decided to spread the love by offering up her studio as the exhibit space.
While I was unable to meet up with Sky–I had the pleasure of meeting the not so ordinary family heirloom that sits in a corner of her studio: a stuffed white peacock.
I was told that it died from a heart attack while “trying to mate.” I’m not sure if that’s true or someone was just messing with me but I had to ask because the thing was staring me down.
Sarah Pollman’s photographs recreate the vague and inconsistent experience of memory by using different points of focus.
“For mine I’m really interested in autobiographical memories from when I was a child and acting out memories that I don’t really remember.”
“So I’m using the focus to throw information out of focus, just like you might remember a memory and you remember one thing clearly like the grain on the floor”
“or you might remember the pencil on your desk but then you might not remember everything that was happening around it.”
Katrina Majkut’s paintings work with a similar theme of questioning memories by utilizing the nostalgic symbol of the carousel horse.
“So the idea for me is that everyone loves carousels. They have this huge childhood memory to them. It’s a very permanent spot in it.”
“But as adults when you actually stop to notice the carousels you come to realize that their actual physicality is in moments of frozen pain or anger and freight and it really contrasts the childhood memory that you have.”
“So I think what happens as kids is that you probably don’t notice it but your coping mechanism kicks in and converts it into short term entertainment which means the lights and the colors and the short term vertiginous movement.”
“That’s really what it’s about: how physicality contrasts memory between childhood and adulthood.”
The terrified look on the horse’s faces definitely drove Majkut’s point home. I’m not sure which was creepier: the carousel horses or the stuffed peacock.
The next artist Jodie Mim Goodnough took the theme of the show in a less eerie direction with her sculpture Twin that addresses notions of absence, space, and function.
“I’ve been reconstructing and deconstructing furniture lately. It sort of just kind of happened. It was sitting in my studio frustrating me and I took a jig saw to it one day. And I just really got excited when I realized that it turned into like a perfect cube. And then I realized that it was the perfect size for one person to stand in but no be comfortable in. So yeah a lot of my work is about family and the domestic so this is the style of furniture that I grew up with.
“I like the idea of destroying it and then trying to rebuild it and then failing.”
“I’m interested in the fact that it’s impossible to put things back together once they’re taken apart. So that’s what I’m working with right now.”
“Just the idea of the inability and the frustration to try and fix things and make them right again when you’ve destroyed them.”
Like Sarah Pollman, Ashley Wood works off the theme of distant memories and perspective. However, instead of utilizing variances of focus, Wood relies on light to create a sense of memory and place.
“It’s a lot about identity and forming a body that way. I’m from South Carolina so there very much about growing as a female there and what that means. And I’m using a lot of light and dark to kind of put a spin on things the way I see them.”
“So they all are meant to be seen together which I think is interesting to do photography that way, to kind of break it up into something that’s not so all encompassing in one image.”
“I like the idea that they come out of very specific places and my feelings so they kind of distance themselves from that in the same way.”
So I like the idea that you can photograph things very intimate to your life and put a spin on it and create and narrative that anyone can read and get the same kind of emotion from it.”
“People aren’t going to look at this and know that that’s my sister or that that is my grandmother’s lamp but it more comes from the process of making it a means to an end.”
Monica Lynn Manoski’s sculpture Invited initially reminded me of a tacky wedding dress from the eighties but when she approached me she explained that she was thinking of a form more like a womb or something more biological.
“I always title my work with verbs because that is what I am trying to have it evoke. I think that it is a comforting womb like form and I hope that it’s kind of engaging and draws you in so that’s where the idea of invited comes from.”
“All my work draws from my interpersonal thoughts and relations and kind of whatever emotions and things I’m going through at the times.”
“So whenever I make work I never have an idea of what I want the finished piece to look like, instead I kind of just let the materials talk to me. And so my process really excites me because I never know how it’s going to end up.”
Qing Song’s work straight up blew me away. She used watercolor on Yupo paper (sheets of plastic watercolor paper) without any pencil lines. Trust me that is not an easy technique to master.
Even beyond her outrageous talent and skill, the idea of how she defines her identity through visual language is impressive. Rather than depicting a head shot of herself she chooses parts of her body that are void of gender, race or clearly definitive physical features.
“This is actually a self portrait. My paintings talk about identity because they are both parts of my body. This one is an x ray that I got from going through border control when I came into the country. The curve you see near the rib is actually my bra wire. I think that’s the only thing that is distinctly female about this.”
“This one is another self portrait. The position on the hand is a traditional position that refers to god and the perfection of creation. I want to be perfect at the art that I make with my hands”
Huaiyu Chou brought the vibes back around to terrifying with her Murderess Surrounded by Rabbits.
It seemed appropriate that her work sat right next to the stuffed white peacock because her painting effectively emulates the surreal feelings that occur after a nightmare.
“It is a murderer surrounded by bunnies. So one day I had a dream that someone was drowned in sea of bunnies and I didn’t know who it was but I know that she had a violent nature”.
“So I googled the keyword murderer or murders and found her. So this woman is a real person she is a murderer from the sixties. Her name is Gertrude Baniszewski.”
Every Friday in January Studio 216 will be holding art events that feature work by upcoming artists.
450 Harrison Street
South Boston MA