Constance Thalken at whitespace

November 17th, 2012 Jason Parker Posted in Event, Photography No Comments »

For artist Constance Thalken, 1.2 cm = 1.2 billion microscopic cells; $285,748.24 in medical expenses; 95 10 mg doses of Prochlorperazine; 5,064 mg of Herceptin; 4,500 centigray protons; 139 medical appointments; and, in a word, cancer.

“1.2 cm =” is a photographic response to the artist’s encounter with breast cancer, an iconic disease of contemporary society, and her effort to understand the illness, its treatment, and its effects on her body.

From January 2010 to February 2011, Thalken underwent treatments that included surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted drug therapy, and hormone therapy. Throughout this time, she collected the bandages that were applied and removed from her body and archived them in Ziploc bags with dates and treatment identifying information.

Later she photographed these “discard” materials on the surface of her bathroom floor. After completing four months of chemotherapy and during the following two months of radiotherapy, Thalken documented her body’s transformation, finding the side effects both fascinating and disconcerting.

These self-portraits acknowledge her fortitude in passing through the most demanding phase of treatments, while bearing the psychological and emotional complexities of an experience that brought former certainties into question.

“1.2 cm =” addresses the paradoxical relationship between the smallness of an invasive tumor (1.2 cm) and complexity of its impact on the body and mind. The work speaks to concerns of mortality, the nature of disease and our unease with it, and the body as both a medical object and a vessel of the human spirit.

Through Feb. 16.

814 Edgewood Avenue
Atlanta, Ga.

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Mary Engel at Marcia Wood

November 17th, 2012 Jason Parker Posted in Event, Sculpture No Comments »

Mary Engel has exhibited her found object assemblage sculpture of animal figures at Marcia Wood Gallery for sixteen years. Throughout her career Engel has employed a range of media, scale, surface and sculptural techniques in the depiction of a variety of animals, including her main figure, the dog, as well as cats, horses, rabbits and the occasional bear, squirrel or giraffe.

From the beginning of her practice, Engel’s foundation of inquiry has been an exploration of the development of culture through myth and fable, and as with so much of the lore she studies, she has designated the archetypical animal form as representatives of humanity.

To date, Engel’s sculptures have been single figures gazing in a distinct direction, or implying an invitation to play, or to otherwise interact, with an implied other. With the new body of work, the implied other is now present with the exciting introduction of a second figure completing the piece.

The coupling of two subjects, as the compositional components of a single sculpture, deepens the metaphoric possibilities for the investigation of the relationships between diverse cultures and belief systems, both the disparities and the similarities. As well, the visual impact and presence of the work shifts from the viewer relating to a single figure, to the viewer observing the relationship between two figures.

Further visual, emotional and psychological tension is created as Engel varies the scale of the relating figures. The new work is inspired most immediately by the artist’s recent travels around the world, including India and Ireland, transpiring in the addition of elephants and jaguars to the artist’s stable.

Through Jan. 26.

Marcia Wood Gallery
263 Walker St SW
Atlanta, GA 30313

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