FIVE HOLES ALL SMILES
Loney Abrams & Johnny Stanish
Heather Leigh McPherson
Rebecca Fin Simonetti
September 16 – October 22
Opening Reception September 16th 7 – 10 PM
Be More Beautiful
Whatever it is I was made for I haven't yet started
The morning makes its way up the street as a loose pack of wild dogs
Their invisible metal teeth
welcoming all the birds in the neighborhood
The stars are wrong
I was just whispering
into my glass
Look it's nightmare again
I've been standing in front of a mirror for a hundred years
My glass clothes tossed across the bed
Trying things on trying things off
There just there
That's as far as I can go
Singing the one song I made up the only thing I have memorized–
You're a dog
You're a fucking
My body is a dream of meat
It stinks and
I dress it carefully and stick new Band-Aids on and take it outside so
it can see and be in love
I hang it up on a hook
on a moon
to turn in slow circles
Open all night
Are you open all night?
I'm open all night
My face is wrapped tighter than anyone's face
If I was made to wake up and walk around and wave my arms
beneath the trees then I'm doing it
My head pointed up my eyes full of leaves
I wanted to be made out of nothing but your voice
and be more beautiful
and I was made
Five holes All Smiles
Today it is dually hard to fall out of love. First we disengage from the physical relationship, then the digital. To unfollow or not to unfollow? Voyeurism abounds in the fretting over Facebook invitation lists, the stalking of geotags. The average length of a romantic relationship continues to shrink (currently it’s less than three years), but traces of ex-digital-relationships will eternally exist, no matter how many times we clear our caches.
In Baroque and Renaissance periods, portraits commemorated significant moments such as betrothal and marriage. Break-ups in Western society were scarce, divorce could only be granted by the Pope. The range of favored portraiture formats was extremely small– profile, three-quarter profile, half-length, full-length– forcing convention onto the genre.
Perhaps these “forever digital relationships” are our contemporary constraints on portraiture, simplifying the complexities of a break-up, leaving us with only the memories Facebook suggests we share.
In 1987 Jana Sterbak made Vanitas: Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorectic, consisting of fifty pounds of salted flank steak sewn together into a dress, shown on a hanger until it rotted, bits of meat flaking off, deteriorated. The clothing usually used to adorn now shown as decomposing flesh, questioning both our mortality and vanity, and reminding us of our own human vulnerability.
Works by Amy Brener, Annabeth Marks, Heather Leigh McPherson, Sophy Naess, Fin Simonetti, and There There, convey that same vulnerability, but make the gesture feel cathartic and almost celebrational. Painted garments, fleshy silicone shields hanging from the ceiling, intricate scenes of women bound with rope, spiral-bound notepads and gauzy chiffon precariously held together with epoxy, causing a source of anxiety that competes with the pathologized wounded-woman/clip-art identity of the drawing within.
In an era where few commit to each other the passing of time is instead marked by who one was with at the time. This ongoing cycle of bodies is also cemented by the act of art making, and makes meaning of these dissolved relationships. The art says, “we did this, together.”