Friday, March 27, 2009

Shary Boyle- The Cave

I've been meaning to post for weeks about Shary Boyle's latest exhibition, The Cave, at Jessica Bradley Art + Projects. For those of you who have not yet seen it, it's on for another week so hustle over if you want to catch it...

The Cave is an exhibition of recent drawings, small relief sculptures and porcelain works exploring "Boyle’s interest in the vast and fantastical variety of bats in the world, and their recent decline as a signal of impending ecological catastrophe." The show was certainly not limited to bat imagery...also featured were diminutive representations of chandeliers, chalk pastel drawings of period costumes which resemble strangely organic, evocative suits of armour and a milky white porcelain phallus complete with squatting legs and high heels. My favourite pieces included some of the plainly beautiful bat face reliefs and the pictured work above, Wicked Witch of the East, which treads dangerously close to cutesy territory with it's pastel palette and blankety textures. Despite this, it gives you the feeling of a mysterious, alluring nest daring you to disturb it so it's seemingly sleepy bats can suddenly swarm you (entangling themselves in your hair, as the old myth goes...). Also incredible was the large encased bat sculpture (unfortunately, I didn't get the name of it...) which takes Boyle's lace draping technique (best known from her Lace Figures series) to new heights.

It is also worth noting how beautifully the works were presented in The Cave. For example, the pristine white bat relief sculptures were mounted to black velvet, which was echoed in the black velvet painting-esque chalk drawings of costumes and figures. There was a seamless unity to the presentation that was obviously well-thought out by the detail-worshiping Boyle.

The Cave features work that is thematically what Boyle is known for, and rightfully so. It strikes a nerve for articulating the uneasy role of the feminine body not only in myth and fable, but in contemporary society.

For more on The Cave, look here. For more on Shary Boyle, take a look at her website.

Pictured: Wicked Witch of the East, porcelain (unique), 2009

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