This coming Saturday, February 9th is the last chance to catch “Contorted” —the five-woman group show on display at the Public Pool artspace in Hamtramck. The open gallery sessions have featured a live performance piece “It’s Up There” by Melanie Manos, as well as a live-drawing session with artist Alice V. Schneider, responsible for a spooky multi-media installation comprised of video and charcoal drawings in the gallery’s bathroom.
Overall, the show, curated by Jessica Frelinghuysen, subtitles itself, “Five Artists on Skin and Hair, Bone and Muscle,” and the work itself deals largely with bodies or parts of bodies. Rachel Bernstein is responsible for a collection of truly uncomfortable collages that layer together clips of musculature into indefinable body part constructions, glistening, sometimes three-dimensional, and deeply unsettling.
Melanie Manos is her own subject matter, with floor-to-ceiling digital prints that replicate her image into a geometric wallpaper of arm and leg configurations. Her piece “The Climb” is one of two video installations, the second being “Hydro Force” by Liz Cohen, which depicts a heavily pregnant woman interacting with a hydraulically animated vehicle. Women and cars are the subject of Cohen’s two still images as well, oversized C-prints that dominate the back wall of the gallery.
Finally, Nicola Kuperus grabs the window seat, with two prints from her “Fools” series – “Fools II” and “Fools IV.” These layered images of female forms in bodysuits and bagged heads read almost as a static window into a performance art piece.
It’s definitely a provocative show highlighting strong perspectives on the female form. The worked showcased is hardly the highly sexualized and appealing imagery that we are used to seeing in mainstream culture, and the challenge inherent in that contrast will likely force a contortion within the viewer.
Public Pool Artspace: 3309 Caniff St., Hamtramck; 313-495-POOL; apublicpool.com.