Joan Livingstone: Migrations, Recent Sculpture
Laura Russo Gallery
Portland OR Jun 3-26, 2004
Joan Livingstone, Lured (2002), felt, suture thread, epoxy, rubber, metal [Laura Russo Gallery, Portland OR, Jun 3-26]
After living and working in Chicago for roughly twenty years, nationally-recognized fibre artist Joan Livingstone exhibits a new series in her native town of Portland. Livingstone has been inspired during her career by such artists as Eva Hesse and Louise Bourgeois. With their textile-based anthropomorphic works, these women gave new directions to minimalist sculpture at a time when it was dominated by rigid and cold forms. Livingstone continues to evoke metaphors for the human condition in her work. Her latest series, Migrations, refers to the changing or migratory state of the physical body.
This artist takes what is typically known as soft sculpture quite a few steps further. She builds conceptual work from materials that elicit a peculiar familiarity while remaining somewhat obscure. They are constructed from soft, handmade felt permeated with rubber and liquid resins that saturate, stretch and eventually stiffen the fibers. During the curing process, subtle mutations occur. The aberrations are intentional and caused by chemical reactions within the combination of media. The resulting sculpture exudes a quiet tension and slow resistance, making them feel alive.
Livingstones Migrations suggest a nomadic state. They propose questionable relationships between the interior and the exterior of the human body by presenting lucid forms that lie somewhere in between, like membranes or skins. The artist examines the mutable, transient state of the human body as experienced through growth and routine bodily functions. She draws psychological relationships between these visceral behaviors and post-industrial technological systems. Her work attempts to reconcile the confrontations and contradictions experienced in our daily social situations.