I spoke with artists Alyssa Arney & Liz Flynn, and curator Natalie Mik, at Gallery 211 at the opening of their show Pleasure Objects tonight. Three months ago Arney & Flynn contributed crocheted compost, worms & vermiculture for the Michael Nannery curated Dirt Making installation at a 6th street art space in Downtown Los Angeles. Tonight they've filled Gallery 211 with crocheted food Pleasure Objects.
Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran at UCSD offers that synaesthesia is vastly more common that previously believed, that it's particularly strong in "artsy types," and he speculates that it could account for the emergence of phenomena like language.
The fiber art production of culinary art objects isn't exactly synaestheisa in any traditional sense, but I do think it's interesting to consider the playful way Arney & Flynn have produced food, food ingredients, and food experiences with crochet.
Of the many forms of synaesthesia, the most common is Color-Number, where the individual sees numbers in color.
We know that Color-Number synaesthesia is real. When various people are shown a field of black-and-white 5's and 2's and asked what image it makes, "normals" take a long time to slowly decipher the triangle of 2's. Synaesthetes who might see 5's as green and 2's as red can instantly tell you they see a triangle.
Even though synaesthesia is less rare than previously thought, plenty of us still don't have access to these experiences IRL. In digital space everyone can be a synaesthete. Artists and scientists have created graphic mandalas out of classical music, and musical preformances out of celestial data like the Merope Nebula.
In Pleasure Objects Arney and Flynn have crossed two forms of "Women's Work" to give us a playful yet powerful consideration of culture, consumption, and gender. The soft sculptures are so adorable that the child in all of us loves them. At the gallery tonight a remarkable proportion of the visitors couldn't leave without buying a piece to take home.
Yet in spite of the playful friendliness of the pieces, the installation never strays far from its critique of our problematic fast food / junk food culture. We are detached from the bland, sugar-fat-and-calorie-filled fast-food and junk-food that we have programmed ourselves to crave. We overeat. Yet we are never satisfied.
Alyssa Arney & Liz Flynn at Gallery 211 in Santa Ana, CA on the occasion of the opening of their exhibition Pleasure Objects.
Curator Natalie Mik.
- WordsAsVisions.wordpress.com (Liz Flynn's website)
Alyssa Arney, Glenn Zucman, and Liz Flynn sitting inside a giant crocheted pink donut at the opening of Pleasure Objects at Gallery 211 in Santa Ana, CA. Photo by Brian Feinzimer for Downtown Santa Ana.