Description Artists address and utilize the physical self, movement and action as an integral instrument and method in their visual works. They ask-- how does the body adapt, protect, resist, control or relinquish control, react and express in a self-designed and self-enclosed performance or action.
Curatorial Statement We are living in an increasingly disembodied world: online personas, meant to supplement our offline selves often supplant them; we are in nearly constant contact without physical connection; the lack of an online presence can even question a corresponding physical existence. I see these artists' immersion of their physical selves inside their artworks as a kind of 'acting out' response to this trend: while each moves toward their own end, they evidently found no better way to say what they needed to say than to get physical.
In Square Piece, Lilly McElroy arbitrarily carves out a small square of sidewalk in downtown Chicago, then fervently protects her territory against the casual passerby. Like a distant and much sweeter relative of Vito Acconci, she confronts the viewer/witness with a disarmingand sincere seriousness. As we watch her carry out her duties, which we understand to be of great consequence, we are unwittingly enlisted as her cheering section.
The artists in Type A, Andrew Bordwin and Adam Ames, named their collaboration after the personality type in Jacob Goldsmith's theory-the Type A personality being ambitious, aggressive and competitive (few recall the study also concluded that the type A personality, so widely revered in American culture, was found to be at much greater risk of heart disease). Bordwin and Ames corrupt the type further by collaborating themselves into absurd conflicts and goal/ego-driven, testosterone-charged competitions, exaggerated to humorous proportions.
By contrast, the conceptual and meditative work of David Horvitz (How to Exit a Photograph and Disappear into the Sun) merges the physical and spiritual by simply employing the parameters of the photographic format to his ends. Grappling with several sudden deaths in her family, Elaine Miller created cathartic self-portraits that traverse every stage Kubler-Ross predicted, and concluded with Time to Let Go. In Screen, Rachel Ellison attempts to muster up a smile that lasts for fifteen minutes. Isolated outside a social structure, this emotional response is sustained so far beyond its authenticity it becomes uncomfortably awkward, tense and eventually morphs into the grotesque. Local artist Heidi Schwegler battles her invisible foe in Wrest, a looping video that pulls us into a deeply strange but eerily familiar scene, where a relentless opponent isn't seen, but felt.
As kinesthetic learners find their thoughts by doing rather than thinking, the artists in Let's Get Physical enact self-designed physical tasks to uncover the often invisible human matters of boundaries, control, endurance, struggle, loss, temporality and release. Each performance articulates, reveals and mirrors to the viewer that which physicality makes inescapable.
Mariana Tres bio Mariana Tres illuminates untold histories and events of the natural world through photography, objects, video, creative writing and installation. She is also Director and Steward of the Society for Nebulous Knowledge. Tres is the recipient of numerous awards including grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council and the Oregon Arts Commission, as well as a unique artist residency at Harvard Center for Astrophysics. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute and received her MFA from Portland State University, has taught at Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland Community College and Indiana University and her work has been shown widely. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon where she continues her investigations. www.societyfornebulousknowledge.com