Artistic exploration of the body

 

Golnaz TaherianArts Editor

Featured Image: Kim and Garcia manipulate and mix different mediums. | Golnaz Taherian


Esther Kim and Rebecca Garcia, fourth-year visual arts students, present ‘Embodied Thought’, a collaborative exhibition which focuses thematically on the physical, psychological, and emotional experiences of being human. Kim focuses on sculpture, and Garcia on nude and figure drawing. Together, they have created a powerful set of art revolving around the subjective experience of the body.

Kim points to their practice of manipulating and mixing different mediums: “We were trying to break the conventions of a typical gallery. That’s why we drew on the walls, and we also tried to make some of the two-dimensional works sculptural, so they are hanging on strings or they are lifted from the wall creating a shadow.”

On a wall, Garcia has drawn a large-scale figure of a woman in charcoal. Her arms are raised high, giving the impression of liberation. However, the painting is fragmented and incomplete, hinting at the many contradictions and flaws in people. The artist astutely notes: “It’s very reflective of my own self, in that I am not complete.”

In one of Kim’s pieces, a large metal sculpture represents human lungs. The lungs, which hang from fishing wire, are heavy, dark and black, as though taken from a chronic smoker. The artist began with the centre of the sculpture. She then started two symmetrical branches through a process of welding and attaching, until the piece was complete.

The metal branches cast a jungle-like shadow against the nearby wall, within which Garcia’s smoky figure seems encompassed. The two pieces of art thematically illuminate one another; the shadows of the sculpture become a part of the charcoal drawing.

In another drawing, Garcia presents the figure of a headless woman. The piece is slightly fragmented. Around the figure’s chest and heart area is a faded pink watercolour. There are two ways we can see this colour. Perhaps this is sadness, or rage bleeding out of the character. This notion is compounded by a black aura surrounding her. Or, because the colour is pink, perhaps the figure is joyous. The beauty of Garcia and Kim’s artwork is that it can be interpreted in many ways.

In another piece by Kim, there are two sculptures of bronze hearts hanging from the ceiling. Each heart is split into multiple pieces, and seems to either be expanding or blowing apart. In order to make the piece, Kim bought an anatomical heart consisting of various pieces. She took the heart apart and made a mould for each piece, which she then made into wax. She grafted the pieces back together to make sure they were anatomically correct, she then burnt the wax out and poured the bronze in.

When asked about the effect York has had upon her art, Garcia positively notes how the school has assisted her: “resources, like the space to do the figure drawings. The school brings models here and also provides tools such as photography studios.”

Kim adds: “I’m so grateful for York because of all the facilities and professors. I really have close relationships with professors; I see them as mentors. I feel like that has given me an extra push in a sense to keep my drive going.”

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