Bonds of Love
19 Aug - 24 Sept 2005
John Connelly Presents, 526 West 26th Street Suite 1003, New York, NY - USA
"Bonds of Love," a show inspired by psychoanalyst Jessica Benjamin's book of the same title and curated by Lisa Kirk, presents a variety of female artistic practices. A gallery statement invites visitors to suspend the separation between subject (themselves) and object (the artworks)—"a laborious intellectual reconstruction," as a quote from Benjamin acknowledges, especially given the diversity of work on view.
Indeed, one sees differences at every turn here, even on the topic of being a "woman" artist. A case in point is transgendered artist Tara Mateik, whose work defies standard divisions of male and female. His video PYT (2004), in which the artist lip-synchs to the Michael Jackson song while dressed as Peter Pan, celebrates contemporary culture's famous "other" as a poster child for self-styled gender expression.
The other artists in the show are more straightforward about their gender identity, but less direct about their own experience. For example, in German artist Kati Heck's video !! und die grune holle (and the green hell!!), simian dolls exchange cryptic observations about men. The piece is memorable, but belies easy interpretation. Anne Collier's photograph You Rock My World, which functions like an updated version of Cindy Sherman's "Film Stills," places the covers of two record albums (one by Michael Jackson, the other by Johnny Winter) side by side to suggest the commodification of clichd romantic sentiments.
The works in this varied show—enigmatic, lovable, mediocre, clinical—are a reminder that art by women cannot be reduced to any one paradigm or category. The subject (like the object) is far too complex.