Points of View - “Desecrated”
Written by MFA student Aj Cooke, Points of View explores local gallery exhibitions in order to spark an open and accessible exchange of ideas and nurture collective intelligence about the art being created and displayed in our community.
Desecrated: A thesis exhibition from 2014 KCAD MFA graduate Laurie Hunt
December 5-17, 2014
Natural elements have been torn asunder, ravaged, and used, all for our viewing pleasure. It might be difficult to consider the destruction that is at the root of Laurie Hunt’s thesis exhibition entitled “Desecrated,” due to the initial beauty depicted by the selection and use of materials that include eggshell, ink, dry metalic pigment, and hand-dyed linen, to name a few. The inclusion of natural or perhaps fragile elements in her process links our current ecological crisis with the loss of the feminine divine.
Wide shot of "Desecrated" inside Spiral Gallery
In her artist’s statement, Hunt writes, “Simultaneous to the oppression of women was the domination of the natural world, and traditionally ‘masculine’ characteristics like rationality, control, and productivity took a higher importance over the ‘feminine’ characteristics such as intuition and sensitivity. This body of work meditates on those notions, depicting the void created from our current lack of a relationship with the natural world and the desecration of both the environment and the feminine.”
The clash of human production and nature, as well as the masculine and the feminine, are clear in each aspect of “Desecrated,” not only in the use of materials, but also with the presentation and techniques given to each piece. The “Shell Series” for instance, includes nine framed chine-colléd prints that visually depict individual acts of chaos or destruction; the organic matter of eggshell bursts upon the paper, cracked and shattered with powdered pigment and charcoal as it is bent to the will of the printing press, and therefore humanity. Each print not only demonstrates the violence of power, but also beautifies it, allowing the viewer a moment to consider the contradiction of glorifying such domination.
"Shell Series" by Laurie Hunt
This dichotomy is magnified with the show stopping east wall, where “Indigo Hole,” a massive construction of indigo hand-dyed linen hand stitched together with thread, is flanked by “Salt Shells,” two small clusters of eggshells filled with black lava saltwater and dry gold pigment. Both works feature frayed edges, broken membranes, and dark, hollow centers, yet also spawn new growth upon closer inspection. The French knots meticulously sewn inside the darkest reaches of “Indigo Hole,” as well as the crystals attached to the outside edges of “Salt Shells,” portray a healing process, much like a scab on a wound, along with more biological references of ovulation and birth, allowing reconstruction and the feminine to be one and the same, or perhaps, like it once was.
"Indigo Hole" by Laurie Hunt
"Salt Shells" by Laurie Hunt
What are your thoughts on the contrasting elements in this exhibition? What do you think contributes to humanity’s disconnect with nature?
There will be an opening reception for “Desecrated” at Spiral Gallery during Avenue for the Arts' First Fridays Gallery Hop on Friday, December 5.