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Indepth Arts News:

" The Somatic Mirror: Reflecting Self and Other"
2006-09-14 until 2006-10-21
Brickbottom Gallery
Sommerville, MA, USA United States of America

The Brickbottom Gallery hosts The Somatic Mirror: Reflecting Self and Other. Curated by Peter John Marquez and featuring the work of Jehanne-Marie Gavarini, Lisa Lunskaya Gordon, Ann Hirsch, Judith Larsen, and Lisie Orjuela. September 14-October 21, with an opening reception on Sunday, September 17, 6-8 pm. At Brickbottom Gallery, 1 Fitchburg Street, Somerville, Mass. Our first experiences as babies stem from our perceived unity with our surroundings –- womb, breast, mother, universe. We are born without a pre-defined sense of self and other. Then self-awareness materializes via the mirror.

According to psychoanalytic writers like Jacques Lacan, the moment a child first recognizes itself in a mirror begins a process that differentiates self and other. So begins a lifelong schism between identity and alienation. The Somatic Mirror explores this cognitive dissonance with art that uses the body to reflect and foster recognition of self/other –- often exposing a delightfully unstable middle ground.

The five artists creating this multi-media hall of mirrors are:

Jehanne-Marie Gavarini: subversive sculptures that conjoin self and other;
Lisa Lunskaya Gordon: bodyscapes that boldly challenge us to recognize other as self;
Ann Hirsch: life sculptures that stare back and defiantly insist on your otherness;
Judith Larsen: photographs that turn the mirror on itself; and
Lisie Orjuela: paintings that explore ways to reclaim what was taken away.

Background information:

Jehanne-Marie Gavarini is a visual artist who has been working across disciplines for many years. Her work examines contemporary compulsions and collective anxieties and is fueled by her interest in human ambivalence toward social rules and cultural norms. Her installations address global issues such as gender dynamics, violence and power struggles. In the last five years, Gavarini’s work has investigated desire, seduction, fantasies, and sexuality as subjects of representation. Her objects bridge the public and private realms by combining domestic items with industrial materials such as metal and hardware. These objects mix humor with darker emotions, leaving room for viewers' interpretation. Gavarini’s artistic work has been exhibited extensively in Europe and the United States. She is the recipient of several artistic awards as well as grants and residencies. In particular, her work has been recognized by the Somerville Arts Council, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Bronx Council on the Arts. In 2000, she was an artist in residence at the Centre de Recherche d’Echange et de Diffusion pour l’Art Contemporain in Ivry-sur-Seine, France. She is currently an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. In addition to her artistic work, Gavarini writes about art and visual culture. She is the co-translator of Tomboy an autobiographical novel by acclaimed Franco-Algerian writer Nina Bouraoui. Tomboy will be published in 2007 by the University of Nebraska Press.

Boston-area mixed media artist Lisa Lunskaya Gordon started out as a photographer, moved into printmaking, and then jumped into sculpture. Her recent series dealing with issues of spiritual purity bridges these disparate media examining the body through a print series translated from stills exported from a video she shot of living statues of biblical figures during a performance event she organized. Gordon is a recent graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston's MFA program and exhibits her work and curates shows locally, nationally and internationally.

Ann Hirsch is a Cambridge-based artist who creates animate and inanimate sculpture and installation art. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Art History and Fine Arts from Columbia University where she specialized in Italian Renaissance Sculpture. She also holds a Master’s degree from New York University and an M.F.A. in Sculpture from the New York Academy from which she received a one-year research fellowship. During the 1990’s she was granted four consecutive travel fellowships which brought her to Italy to study the Italian Renaissance first-hand. These experiences have played a vital role in shaping her vision, iconography and aesthetic. A dominant thread in much of her work is the merging of her formal figurative training with contemporary formats, media and concepts. She continually returns to the theme of the cloned variant in multi-figure compositions and installations by sculpting or mold-making and casting the same prototype for each of the figures. Her sculpture is driven by a naturalistic handling of the body but often recontextualizes historical iconography and uses seriality, and subtle androgyny and anthropomorphism, as means to evoke tension between individuation and non-individuation, the same and the other. Since receiving her M.F.A. in 2002, Hirsch has shown extensively in New York and Massachusetts and has worked as an objects restorer, primarily of Italian Renaissance sculpture, for which she sculpts missing body parts.

Judith S. Larsen has an MFA in Painting and a BFA in Education and Fine Art from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University in Boston, MA. She has taught painting, drawing, design, and computer techniques for artists at Wellesley College, the Boston Architectural Center, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, and Mass. College of Art. Larsen has also taught at the Project Zero Summer Institute at Harvard University. She has exhibited widely in the New England area, as well as nationally, and is represented in numerous collections, including the DeCordova Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Fidelity Management and the Graham Gund, Engelhard, Rockefeller and Stephen D. Paine Collections. Larsen is a member of the Board of Governors for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and is the Visual Arts Editor for the Harvard Review. She has been represented by the OHT Gallery in Boston, MA for the last 5 years.

Lisie S. Orjuela’s richly colored oil paintings explore the inner world of the soul, spirit, psyche and mind. More often than not, she uses the human figure to explore this limitless realm. Currently working in Trumbull, CT, Orjeula is originally from South America. She studied art at Andrews University in Michigan, at the Arts Students League of New York, and at New York University. Orjuela’s intimate canvases boldly explore the subtle thoughts, feelings and experiences that drive human interactions. The figures in her work often inhabit a luxurious realm of tapestry, textures and shapes, their movements and rituals free of literal interpretation. They invite the viewer to explore and re-imagine the perceptions of their life experiences, memories and dreams. Orjeula has shown her work in solo exhibitions in MA, CT, NJ, DE, MO, IL, OK, and Mexico and has also participated in numerous group exhibitions throughout the country.

Peter John Marquez is a New York-born writer and entrepreneur who has worked on Wall Street, Broadway and in Silicon Valley. A multiethnic whose roots stem from the Caribbean to Africa, South Asia and Europe, Marquez has always been interested in humanity's propensity for dualities –- black/white, godly/godless, male/female, self/other –- and the benefits and limits of seeing the world in that way. The Somatic Mirror reflects Marquez's interest in how these dualities (which have been expressed in both gracious and horrific ways throughout history) begin with the individual's acceptance and experience of splitting the universe in two –- and the cognitive dissonance that results.

The Brickbottom Artist Association (BAA) is dedicated to preserving and expanding the arts in Somerville and the greater Boston area. The BAA’s annual Open Studios, now in its 17th year, is one of the oldest in Boston. Year-round, the Brickbottom Gallery presents thoughtful and professionally curated art exhibitions as one of Somerville’s few not-for-profit contemporary art galleries. BAA fosters a stable, permanent artist community of Brickbottom residents and non-resident members. BAA promotes and supports its members and their artwork through art openings, BAA gallery shows, membership benefits, and other programs. Through community outreach and involvement, free lectures, and scholarship awards, the BAA strives to expand an awareness of the arts that enriches the Boston community at large. For more information, log onto www.brickbottomartists.com.

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