FLESH & GROUND
Thursday 14th February 2013 - Sunday 10th March 2013
An exhibition of works by Em Rooney.
Flesh & Ground, a collection of works by artist Em Rooney, use her experiences as a metal worker in an all queer female-bodied shop as a starting point to examine the way the mundane, or the everyday (her everyday), creeps into subversive territory while questioning what subversive means a fabrication environment, which when dissected or desiccated could look (or feel) like many environments, earthly or divine.
The exhibition will be accompanied by the release of a new publication of works by Em co-published by Bronze Age Editions and Good Press Gallery titled Love is in the Flowers.
Husserl argued: the meaning of the perceived thing, a stick or a flagpole, for example, "is not [just] another object behind or above the first one."
If fragility is perceptible in the gesture of a hand, so to is it perceptible in the shape of a stick. Because of this transference between inanimate material and the body we are also able to sense that "love is in the flowers" picked and arranged by the lover, just as it is (felt/seen) in her caresses.
Sara Heinäma, in Toward a Phenomenology of Sexual Difference: Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Beauvoir (Rowman and Littlefield 2003), reminds us that there are times when our living bodies resemble inert matter, pieces of metal or stone. She posits: "If I [ask you] to hit me in the face, I may have, in addition to kinesthetic sensations, the experience of my physical body splitting and the fluids it contains trickling out. Thus, my body functions as a member in the nexus of causes and effects. In this respect, it is similar to other material things."
I weld structures for Christan Dior showrooms.
Blackener turns a workbench green, then yellow, then orange, deep red, black, and then finally settles on a rust color that I quickly seal in with wax.
No one can explain this exact series of reactions.
The pump breaks on our cold saw. We all stand around and watch the opaque teal fluid break through a dense pile of curly filings forming a stream, down the side of the machine, into a pool at the bottom which I sop up with the front side of a tee-shirt we've turned into a rag.
The drill press lubricates with dark brown, vanilla scented oil. It burns and smokes when fat bits carve through thick, hot rolled steel.
Someone is grinding behind me. I throw down my shield. A blast of white. I pull my shield up too fast and get flashed. I can't see. I can't hear.
Streams of color with shadows pass through my vision.
Lifting, cutting, bending, breaking, and banging.
We transgress shoptalk to expound on the politics of our bodies in space, and in bed with our lovers.
Still, these phenomenologies (some banal, some base, some erotic) do nothing to articulate, the power and eventual futility of our abilities to project, transform, eject, and perform our spirituality, materiality (materials), and sexualities.
Material culture, like sex acts, can leave a body emptied (of fluids or meaning). It can leave an experience effigerial.
But where can interrupting or avoiding these bodily interactions, visions, cravings lead us?
If materialism is an elocution of whatever you want, and yet it is moralized out of our own spirituality where do we find intimacy with the physical world around us?