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An exhibition for breast cancer awareness at Impact Artists Gallery
by J. Tim Raymond
Flexible, half-round, molded plastic upper torso forms, headless and armless, worked with materials that must have strained the inventory of attics and craft stores from across the area, are on view at Impact Artists Gallery on the fifth floor of the Tri-Main building as part of an exhibit that aims to raise awareness of breat cancer. The opening was enthusiastically attended and evident of the strong emotional regard for those who have faced the disease personally or with a loved one.
Delicate, demure, duded-up, dramatic, dour, emphatic, caked, cheerleading, solemn, passionate, dreaming, golden, animal, ad-copied, floral, filigreed, decoupaged, drawn-on, painted, papier-mached, mussel-shelled, Matissed, Chagalled, Maiden-Formed, embroidered, zippered, funny, fragile, furry, embellished, enhanced, eviscerated, cosseted, corseted, coruscated, cut-papered, burned, beaded, belled, beribboned, doilied, dolled-up, deciduous, armored. and under a T-shirt, breasts absent altogether—these words only begin to describe the formal qualities of the artwork on every wall surface of the gallery. There were breasts as requiem, reverie and reliquary; breasts as herbarium and diary; as totem and talismanic touchstone; breasts epigrammatic, breasts in greeting-card gratuity, of sworn allegiance and affirmation; breasts with handwritten messages of hope, love, longing, and desire. Most of all there were testaments to lives lived, losses mourned, suffering survived.
As I ate my little cakes and drank the non-alcoholic Pina Colada punch, I tried to see the idea of an exhibition of breasts from the female perspective. As I surveyed the whirl of women surrounding me, I tried to turn off my normal response to that most wonderfully paired appendage to really come to an understanding what they—the “girls,” the “puppies,” “boobs,” “ta-tas,” all the borderline marvelous appellations derived from common usage—meant to their body owners, of their loss, and lives unlived. I could not begin to do so, of course; I could but witness the many self-conscious young women standing in groups talking, dressed as if they were going out later, and the smartly dressed women in heels in their 40s and 50s who might no longer have the exact shape and stature of sveltely molded mannequins, and then the older and still older women, in large measure comfortable in their clothes and their skins, faces shining, smiling, bent and limping, sitting in chairs, heartily conversing.
The exhibiting artists are donating their original works for the cause of breast cancer awareness. Thirty jury-selected works will be chosen for a limited addition poster and fundraising calendars. And 24 torsos will be auctioned off at an event on Saturday, September 22, 7-10pm.
Impact Artists Gallery is the only women’s volunteer co-op run gallery in Western New York, entering its 20th year this November. The show runs through September 30.blog comments powered by Disqus
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