Indepth Arts News: |
"Amanda Dumas-Hernandez: Clean Thoughts"
2006-07-26 until 2006-08-12
Groundfloor Gallery announces the opening of Clean
Thoughts, an exhibition of photography and sculptural installation work by NYC artist, Amanda Dumas-Hernandez. The idea of a “Clean Thought” is something that is probably different for each individual depending greatly on their upbringings and belief systems. Conventional ideas of purity and beauty, as well as ideals of majestic things and their fragility are part of the paradoxical nature of this recent body of work. Constructs such as irony, contradiction, conundrum, and juxtaposition are always constants in
Dumas-Hernandez's creative process, although her media and method may vary from piece to
piece. Says the artist,"I work very intuitively and my ideas form cumatively–one idea transforming
into a completely different idea while carrying a rhythmic resonance of its origin. Miles Davis
once said, “When I trip on a crack in the sidewalk I make music out of it,” – this is my mantra for
the intuitive, improvisational way that I think and create".
Making viewers think about what they are seeing...for them to analyze it internally...finding their
own truths, is another important aspect of her work. In this exhibiton, as in life, most often
times what you see is not entirely what you get. The more we live the more we see
unfathomable complexity in all things.
"I love the absurdity of making something beautiful or intriguing out of something that should
be commonplace or banal and creating an intrinsic meaning from the material, such as my Ivory
Soap pieces made of porcelain . Ivory Soap has been an icon in American culture for over one
hundred years. The smell of Ivory Soap evokes memories of childhood and all things clean and
good (plus the whimsical fact that it also floats!) It is noted to be “99-44/100% Pure.” Does this
obscure equation mean that the soap is 55% pure? What is in the remaining 45 percent? How
pure is it? These questions illustrate how Ivory Soap is analagous to most all things considered
“pure.” (Ironically, porn star Marilynn Chambers was once in an Ivory Soap advertisement
holding a baby.) Because of its purity claim despite its ambiguous content, I found Ivory Soap
to be a perfect building material, especially for an “Ivory Tower.”, says Dumas-Hernandez.
The artist began the work for this show differently, than in the past. She started with the concept
of “Clean Thoughts.” She contemplated all kinds of ridiculous notions such as how to arrive at a
“Clean Thought.” Two recurring themes were “brain washing” and “washing one’s mouth out
with soap,” both very relevant to the current political climate in the world today. Both concepts
leave behind sterile thoughts and a bad taste in one’s mouth. Both can have either a funny or
horrifying visual. the artist finds comedy to be most often very profound and a way to speak of
improper things and truths. She contributes the comic element of her work to her
unconventional upbringing in the rural Southern United States, where eccentricity of character
and poking fun at inappropriate things was appreciated. She states, "I have always rebelled
against imposed homogeneity. If all bacteria and dirt were eradicated from the earth and
everyone was forced to have only the same “Clean Thoughts,” needless to say all life (and all
good, dirty fun) would cease to exist. "
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