Christopher St. Christopher – Mere Bellies at Hair+Nails
By Sheila Dickinson
Plastic and elastic, though taught (sp), the skin moves and breathes, stretches to accommodate. No more is this evident than in pregnancy. It’s hard to explain the feeling to someone who has not had their skin stretch over a womb the size of a beach ball. I left the gallery stuck in a realm of remembrance of time with a newborn, seeming to be endlessly breastfeeding, thinking of that time of intense closeness but also of separation. Mere Bellies quite literally points to the womb.
At first when walking into the gallery, the two white hanging sculptures, made of a resilient and stretchy plastic sheet that has small incisions covering it entirely, fell abstract and dancy. I say dancy because movement is implied by the beads strung on to ends cut into the plastic sheet. They beg you to touch, to watch the sculpture sway and listen to the soft chatter as they collide. Movement and dance is exaggerated throughout by videos of a lone dancer cloaked with similar cut and beaded sheets, shrouded further by a mask with only a hole for the mouth to breathe. One video covers the far wall of the upstairs gallery and the other video is housed in the darkened cavern of the basement, with only the throbbing, loud pulsing sounds from the subterranean video echoing throughout the whole building. In this lower video the dancer has props, objects to interact with, made more difficult, however, due to the dancer’s arms stuck inside the costume; that is until a moment of liberation, when his arms emerge into white sleeves ready to lift primordial barbells.
At one stage the loud low bass pulsing mixed with the darkened chamber began to feel increasingly womblike, hearing the heartbeat of the mother. When the dancing figure with only mouth revealed seeks out hanging flesh colored balloons filled with water, the swaddled newborn clamoring for sustenance with no hands for help, makes the birthing references hard to ignore. Then at last, oh dear, the balloon breaks and the water misses the mouth and a catastrophic let down. I realize that the pain of childbirth is experienced as much by the baby as by the mother.
The salve appears atop, after climbing out of the cavern. It comes with a handicap, but perhaps the most vital handicap we know, connectedness and reliance on the other. Upstairs in the small alcove another plastic sheet with many small incisions stretches across the entire room, hanging about chest high, strung from the four corners of the room. On either end, sewn into the structure are two masks, this time with holes for eyes, nose and mouth. Two visitors can don the masks, look toward each other, eye to eye, held together by the skin-like surface.
As I pass the two white sculptures again, ready to leave the gallery with my daughter now grown taller than me, I see that one of the sculptures is spread wide, hanging from multiple points on the ceiling, with arms outstretched. Nearby, the other white sculpture hangs from a single wire with a circle beneath the fabric making a beaded tent. And there I see the mother and child separated fully and at last joyful.
Dr. Sheila Dickinson is a regional correspondent for Arforum’s Critics’ Picks, ArtNews and Hyperallergic and has published her art writing in a wide range of local and international publications. She has spent the last thirteen years writing, teaching and curating in every wedge of time motherhood provides. She is currently the Curator of Exhibitions and Programs at the Rochester Art Center.
Christopher Corey Allen Mère bellies/Mother belies
by Sean Smuda
“Those 90’s Raves, a definite influence. Excuse me, I have to find my father he’s lost in here somewhere, probably in a corner spacing out”.
Careful attentive smiling and foibling behind curtain to curtain and tiara curtain pirouettes. Not your bare tattoo, nor your neighbor’s is going to become dog and hit the ceiling and run the walls. Hemi-semi cloaked land without shadow, spun atomic, generative. What we inside and outside at the same time, the meat pulsing holes. Into it like a transporter curls Bilko, sending a very brass fly out. There’s a wall, there is a cylinder, there are diodes that braid it straight from the heart of role change. Enter the room that has the same room in it and it is shifting like junk. There is a figure A, costume doubled, made out of hitself, hertself, the floorboards, made out of the trees, floorboards made out of the trees. They are not feathers, they are life size. We are golden kiss stool, we French kiss eyes open and shut. The eye that comes from dirt and goes to fight. Well .30 exactly, but you know, an extension cord. On the shuffling stage, so that we don’t have to, are gang planks child god loops. But we do, we put all around. We imitate time with her every movement. Micro cochlear substitute tick. But in the big picture, the cut out microwave window, we are only whole as we give, done. The window is in the window within the window. The spiral’s in the spiral, was in the spiral. But really, it’s planks eye the extension cord, acknowledge the sky, acknowledge the ground, shake like rain. And in the back hammock, mic it, if you get two, you can do a headstand counterbalanced or head void netting internal and make three. A couple of 1950s windows remind us just how old all of this is; they were done in Belgium, like Delvaux. Downstairs, the mother breath. A hockey goalie fired from the league, too, present, bright and clean. Halo holes don’t come from the earth or return to the sky.
Ingredient list: “rustic” gallery, plastic swimsuit liner diamond cut in floor to ceiling length circles and walls, not too pushy, hair braid beads fringing them in DNA shorty native code, HD Video projection from green screen with After Effects, Primo-Posto-Mod Dance spatial orienter KVL, CCA it/s/he/selfs, 2D flap costumes, gold vinyl seat head, self chant Yoga, lamb hand organ soft barbells, AA’d 5x’s, ol’ timey printing lookin’ Passionate Journey good, camouflage, mimesis, synthesis, accretion, Siamese Hammsock, photography.
Erin Paradis—Impetus of Entanglement
9.15.17 – 10.19.17
and Hair and Nails Sculpture Garden (ongoing)
By Sean Smuda
One removes itself into two ends rejoining, becoming IT/US, the thing, the cradle, the compression. What are you afraid of? This is not a film until you make it.
Don’t stress, let the language relax. Don’t impose memory; let it slump. The air is heavy and sweet, and soft long fingers curving. There is nothing but light about it, but, pauses, in, communication, clear.
To remove part of one into part of two isn’t tube bell clean chrome except, spirit. It drills in one place, the worm inching along to bring its film (*Blake). Don’t stop there: all arches and vibrations. Round all edges; Modern architecture is rubbish. Enlarge the smooth adobe void over _____________*(current event here). (Sip, crazy straw, resume) wiggle lines Spike and Nancy compress us, Temple Grandin fence us. Chaw ‘bout drive, on the horizon a twister at gut height, inside out. Ranch dressing ideogram indicators tell the story in sharing perspective -bolo knots the nowhere; river levitates snakes. We are connected, no escape! If these were made in Switzerland they would be exorcism. Turn in your head, drill here, atomic, local color, and Band-Aid the respiration of dough. And that’s only inside with light, first level! The basement isn’t the basement; it holds dawn and dusk, like you on all fours. Rounds up, hitting the button and raising bed-trail strata, grey over yellow land, on sun blood, shrunk back –your scale. Compress.
Outback in the new sculpture garden paradise stacks up the stars Peppermint Vuitton wiggle (*SPOILER* Bernini endless anglepoise). And in that side to heaven, the heavy sweet air de Voltaire that you can telephone and ask how to relax into it. A voice will tell you in three times and four directions which herbs to contemplate in which areas of the body and you can find them: wonderful, tubular, chrome. And a time marker television in plywood, like all televisions completely cutting up everything, but showing something that actually happens almost in place, just a few yards away out front, a billboard advertising passing light. But way back a hip-high shellac warm snakey conversation bar very garden lifted from the Bible, but now it’s the other way around. Traingulation of it, Endless, and big hand sticking up to heaven waving three prong points at the neighbor’s hand-pruned deer stand, a game of catch and vast cats cradle entanglement. Electric lines.
Sean Smuda curates Pirsig Projects, 734 E Lake St. Grand opening,
the Metaphysics of Quality, is Fri, Oct 27th, 6-9 PM