In an exploration of absurdity, “Revenge Body” pairs lumpy, texturally-rich sculptures and stop motion animation by Sophie Friedman-Pappas with candy-colored, heavily patterned paintings by Rachel Hayden. These works share a detail-oriented approach to creating texture, as well as an interest in the symbol of the vessel and the nude figure. While each of these artists arrives at a different place in terms of surface and form, they each draw from personal symbolism and fantasy narratives to render surreal bodies and stories.
Hayden creates monumental paintings whose garish colors and dizzying patterns are nonetheless grounded in a painstakingly consistent sense of logic. Systems emerge through repetition of what becomes a familiar cast of characters: a cartoon airplane, smiley-faced celestial bodies, a vessel, a potted plant, a traffic cone. When viewing a grouping of Hayden’s paintings, it becomes clear that these recurring pictographs, while perhaps cryptic, form a symbolic language unique to the artist’s practice. Through persistent repetition, the works communicate a yearning to decipher the monotony and beauty of daily life and the constant progression of time.
Friedman-Pappas imbues her body-like sculptures with an otherworldly quality through a use of both alien and familiar textures and colors. In “Rock Hard,” a wonky vessel rises from a tower of salvaged egg cartons. In “Rotten Narcissus,” a twisted knot of pool noodles, coated in wet-looking layers of synthetic hair, paint, and resin, rests atop a mirror. In placing such familiar objects in seemingly absurd contexts, the artist nonetheless convinces us that they belong to some unfamiliar reality through a methodical attention to surface and color. Friedman-Pappas’s laborious process of layering the surfaces of her sculptures makes them appear at times crumbling or decaying, like organic things left alone to fester and break down into trash. Her use of forms which resemble disassembled body parts, in tandem with a pallid, milky-white color palette, provokes an unsettling deathly feeling.
In cooperation with one another, the works of these two artists represent distinct practices which delve into internal and imaginary worlds.