Material, Corporeal Fragility

Material, Corporeal Fragility

“Many works explore the uncertainty of our physical condition and the vulnerability of the human body. Intimate objects, delicate materials and obsessive processes on display will tantalize viewers with their exquisite fabrication and physical presence of materials.”

So reads the exhibition description for “Adornment: Beauty in Excess,” opening March 30 in the Joy Pratt Markham Gallery inside the Walton Arts Center. The curation of the exhibit, and the work on display by the six participating artists, combines these elements to consider the steps people take to make themselves feel beautiful — to the point of excess.

“Some of the pieces, and some of the artists in the exhibition, work from thinking about the body out into the environment,” shares Piper Shepard, one of the participating artists. “And I feel like there’s very intimate work that has to do so specifically with the body, and then there’s work that has to do with how multiplicity can create an overwhelming response.

“How my work functions within that creates a kind of nice connection to the relationships I feel like I have with other people in thinking about … how these kinds of sensory material qualities are very heightened by many of the artists in the show. So I feel like there’s this very strong connection through materiality.”

“The thing that [all the periods of my work have] in common is it’s just very labor intensive,” adds Carson Fox, another artist included in “Adornment.” Fox’s sculpture often involves intricate filigree designs or elaborate patterns cut out or created with a hole punch.

“The work is something that requires hours and hours and hours of my physical contact with the material itself. And so that idea of being with the art piece and developing it in a really physical way … I was thinking about that way of marking time, recording time for someone,” Fox says. “And I think about that in terms of my sculpture too, like this is evidence that I exist because I did this in this obsessive, crazy way.”

Shepard’s work, too, deals with presence and absence, construction and subtraction to elicit an emotional connection from the viewer in response to the fragile nature of the textiles they’re viewing. The combination of the artists’ detailed processes and the ethereal nature of the pieces — revealed either through the materials themselves or their manipulation — presents an exhibition experience steeped in metaphor, primed for every viewer to have a unique encounter with the works.



“Adornment: Beauty in Excess”

WHEN — On display March 30-May 25; opening reception 5 p.m. March 30

WHERE — Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville

COST — Free admission

INFO — 443-5600,

FYI — Gallery hours: M-F noon-2 p.m.; one hour prior to most performances

Categories: Galleries