Saturday, January 7, 2012

Beads, twigs, glass, etc...

Like in a museum of anthropology, the tribeless costumes are waiting to dance and sing at the Newcomb Art Gallery on the Tulane campus in New Orleans. The lifeless suits called Soundsuits by the artist become a colorful display and the visitor can imagine the primal scream produced by "Soundsuit", 2006, made of twigs, the joyful Jazz tune from the festive creature made of fabrics or a dark, deep sound from a towering costume which could belong to a secrete society. The display is at home in New Orleans just before Mardi Gras and I am waiting to see the suits dance and hear the music flow. The artist, Nick Cave was trained as a dancer and his background influences his works heavily. The visitor regrets not to be able to see the show and feels frustrated, standing in front of the mute costumes. A video of a performance by the artist would have brought the full dimension to the exhibition.

The main gallery is occupied by the works from Joyce Scott made of beads, wood, porcelain, glass. The medium gives a folk artsy flavor, but the message is deep and even violent. The artist travelled extensively to acquire her techniques, Central America, American Southwest, South America...
Her "Decapitated Tanzania Boy Head", 2009-2011, representing the head of an albino-African boy with white beads, her black-blond females sculpted in wood with their yellow beaded wigs make the point: being different is deadly. The artist also knows how to use irony with her porcelains, disturbing the gentle scenes of countesses and their well-behaved companions, with small sculptures of wooden African goddesses calling these works Still Funny Series. Using ancestral techniques, Joyce Scott has developed her own language keeping the viewer between smile and repulsion.

Off the Beaten Path: Women, Violence & Art is a side show with several works dedicated to the subject. Among them, Susan Plum's Luz y Solidaridad resumes the condition of females in too many countries with these giant brooms designed like long ponytails.

From beads, sequins, glass and more... to very serious subjects.

photographs by the author, from top to bottom:

Nick Cave's display at the Newcomb gallery

"Cobalt Rain", Joyce Scott, 2011

"Luz y Solidaridad" Susan Plum , 2006

No comments: