Year of Publication
Art and Visual Studies
These sculptures are attempts at anthropomorphizing objects in an unsettling but intriguing way. The creatures formed are lumpy, and wrong, and hideous. They are sweet and endearing despite it. As they are sewn, the pieces are gently imbued with a constructed sense of life and empathy through the use of aesthetics. Their eyes are wide and rheumy. Their spindly legs can hardly pull them from the dirt. They twitch and crawl toward affection like injured moths toward light. They exist in constant dying, their final throes always an inconvenience away. Given a feeble, artificial life by the scavenged animatronics inside them, they almost seem to hear and feel the viewer’s presence.
Since the beings formed are so dear to the artist, the “flesh” and “skin” they are built from must be dear as well. Using only fabric with a past life builds sentimentality into their bodies. Their organs are sweaters the artist hid in as she overcame bouts of heartbreak, handmade baby blankets from thrift stores, dresses she can’t stand to wear anymore because of the self they are attached to. Every texture imparts a kinetic memory when I touched by the right viewer, and every color as well. Fabric, embroidery, stitchery, and other historically “feminine” details bear additional symbolic weight.
The color pink is sickly and raw. The viewer is encouraged to find themselves suffocated by its implications; dainty, light and rosy, soft and perfect. Nature blushes in the nastiest of places. Infected eyes, gums, rashes, tendon and gut. Agitated flesh around orifices. Blood on snow and in fur. Intestines are especially pink. One of the only gentle pink things is flowers; and even they are beacons of impregnation, thrusting outward for the attention not of other blooms, but of humming insects. In these creatures , the artist captures this same struggle between disgust and affection.
Hensley, Samantha, "Gathering My Friends" (2018). Oswald Research and Creativity Competition. 16.