Many believe that the human body is the ultimate record keeper. Muscles grow as we exercise, lines appear as we age, and scars remember traumas that have affected our physical forms. For some, the body is a vehicle for the mind. The power of thought on healing and mood is evidence of the mind body connection. Finally, some see the body as a definer of who we are and how we socially and culturally experience the world.
BODY/politics features the work of 2023 Parent and Educator Artists-in-Residence Olaniyi Akindiya “AKIRASH”, Pablo Garcia-Lopez, Nicole Havekost, and Mary Valverde, whose perspectives embrace and question our complicated relationship to these questions and definitions of the body.
Interdisciplinary artist AKIRASH marries his background in biochemistry with performance, installation, and video art to raise questions about culture and the impact societies have on the way we exist in the world. Working collaboratively with members of the community, the physical act of working together or happening on a work in public spaces changes the way we see ourselves as it relates to perceptions of art and our physical space.
Multi-media artist and neuroscientist (PhD) Pablo Garcia-Lopez combines science with experimental videos and sculptures. Symbol, light and form are combined to create high-relief sculptures made of natural silk that are baroque in appearance, and explore neuroscience, religion, mental health, culture, and ideas of Nature vs. Nurture, and science fiction. His use of silk relates to the complexity and plasticity of neural networks. His complex figures contain representations of neuronal elements including the brain, spinal cord, thalamus, and hippocampus.
Sculptor Nicole Havekost’s approach to the body, and in her case the female body, is personal. Her large-scale felt sculptures illustrate the reality that bodies are magical and glorious and gross and bewildering. Coarse hair grows in places that were once smooth. Lungs take in air, bones degrade. Havekost explores the tough space we all must navigate; recognizing that to be human fundamentally means we can only influence, not fully control our bodies.
Mary Valverde centers her mixed-media work and research as a visual artist on the historical and present-day connection between Indigenous and African communities in the Americas. Her work uses geometry, patterning, and abstraction that all function as codes to comment on the effects of forced migration, exploitation, genocide, slavery, inventions, and culture shifts on bodies of black and brown people as well as on language and visual art.
BODY/politics is generously supported by Bank of America.
Pablo Garcia-Lopez's residency is generously supported by Windgate Foundation.