Amy Butowicz, Victoria Dugger & Aurora Pellizzi
On May 5th, JEFF opens a three woman show entitled, “Soft Anatomy” featuring the work of Amy Butowicz, Victoria Dugger and Aurora Pellizzi. Working in painting, sculpture, and textiles, these artists are aligned in their relationship to the body, specifically the female body. Existing between abstraction and representation, the realms they inhabit are hermetic but not impervious, a space we’re invited to access with these defiant, visceral and expansive works.
Aurora Pellizzi’s large felt tapestries are all-encompassing, a universe of elemental forms that thwart our sense of the cosmic order. Exploring indigenous fertility rites in her volumetric geometries, fundamental shapes posture as both sacred vistas and the female anatomy. A triangle represents a landscape or a woman, conflating femininity and the earth, embodiment and allegory, figure and ground. With her serpentine allusions Pellizzi resists a codifying of the feminine, privileging an animistic belief in destruction and creation. Pellizzi embraces these dualities, finding unity in the feminine, visualized in these tactile totems.
Whereas Pellizzi’s anatomy is referenced in pared down configurations, Victoria Dugger’s bodies are embellished and bursting at the seams. Flesh and guts are bedazzled with pearls and ribbons, all dolled up for our regard. Reclining on chairs, her anthropomorphic half bodies expose their insides out, allowing vulnerability, encouraging empathy. But this posturing is not passive, while hearts may be open, decorated with gingham, glitter and braids, these bodies are on fire; their presence is resistance. For Dugger, “Reclaiming the female body, the Black body, the disabled body is an act of defiance. When you are part of these marginalized communities, you are taught by the dominant society that you’re deviant and that deviance is something to be feared.”
With names like “Swallowed Up Last”, “Dream Dancer” and “Pliant Underthings”, Amy Butowicz’s amorphous sculptures with pointy heads and bulbous limbs, implicate the corporeal while not directly exposing it. Instead, she dresses up appendages in pink and purple gear as if they were off to the races. The attire suggests athleticism, the theatrical or domestic trimmings while their architecture hints at more perilous pursuits. The works both fend off and invite, hide and reveal; their surfaces are rough, while their dressings are soft and translucent. A draped wall work entitled, “Long Hair Fantasy,’ basks in the absurdity of our desires and reminds us that the body can only contain so much. These contradictions define the work, correlating pain and pleasure, masculine and feminine, animate and inanimate. Their affectations recall the flesh, infer danger and betray our human frailties, proposing the body as host to logistics, satire and objecthood.