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Fall show explores human 'embodiment'

September 21, 2016 1:03 P.M.
Zoe Kreye, Our Missing Body, 2015-16. (Zoe Kreye/KAG)

A fall exhibition opening at Kamloops Art Gallery this weekend probes beyond the superficial, examining human embodiment.

Called “All membranes are porous,” the show features related works by half a dozen artists: Margaret Dragu; Pascal Grandmaison; Sarah Anne Johnson; Zoe Kreye; and Luanne Martineau. 

Dragu and Kreye, Vancouver-based artists, will join curator Charo Neville for an exhibition tour at 5:30 p.m., followed by the opening reception at 6:30.

Each of the artists explores the notion of embodiment through an inimitable approach to the common experience of inhabiting a body. The exhibition is an invitation to viewers to reflect on their own bodily experience and the expansive diversity that this comprises.

Flesh, organs, eyes to the soul, under my skin, silhouette, inner voice, scars – the human body, its physical form, internal experience, external representation and metaphoric existence in the world is intimately familiar to all. 

The body is deeply personal and at the same time inescapably public. It has been the central subject of a wide range of study within medical, spiritual, philosophical and sociological disciplines.

Embodiment and phenomenological experience can include but are not exclusive to social bodies, political bodies, differently abled bodies and gendered bodies. These encompass inclusive and exclusive spaces, personal and governmental rights, and technological or scientific experimentation. 

The body has also been the subject of artistic expression since the first recorded mark, often a record of how bodies were perceived and upheld at particular time periods, reflecting economic status, social morals and gender roles. Artists of the last few decades have been interested in exposing the power dynamics implicit through the representation of the body in a multitude of forms.

This exhibition looks at this topic by way of an open and fluid inquiry. Rather than foregrounding representations of the body tied to identity, the exhibition, like its title indicates, is porous and flexible, experiential and visceral. 

Collectivelly, works in the show look at the body in relation to knowledge, intimacy, loss, death, class, race, community, aging, architecture, nature, abstraction, movement and intervention.

It includes Dragu’s cumulative archive of performances and relational workshops addressing iterative decay, memory loss and personal legacy with a primary focus on the body as a source of knowledge. Kreye’s installation represents community-based projects emerging from an invitation to perform the body in relation to sculptural objects and built spaces. Shaw offers an experience for one person at a time that takes the viewer into a hypnotic experience of memory and personality. 

Johnson’s installation translates her grandmother’s traumatic experience as a hospital patient by way of the artist’s own body and the viewer’s navigation of a clinical space, while Grandmaison’s ethereal videos provide a mesmerizing doubling of natural and bodily phenomenon. Martineau's soft sculptures evoke internal and external body parts through ambiguous forms that oscillate between figuration and abstraction.

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