Montreal, October 15, 2019 — A soft hollow in an armchair seat, the yellowed brittle leaves of dried sunflowers, sticky residue left on snake-skin boots, all hint at the curious propensity objects have to imbibe not only our movements, but also the way we live. The objects depicted in Alicia Adamerovich’s (Brooklyn, USA) highly rendered graphite drawings and the ones chosen and taken care of in Sessa Englund’s (Los Angeles, USA) precarious sculptures are projected far beyond their meanings. These selected elements act as binding agents between the tangible world and the ethereal space, revealing pieces of the artists’ identities through the layering of metaphors. The exhibition Wild Objects points towards a system within which the rationality of objects comes to grips with the irrationality of being, enabling the contradiction to open a door to new symbols of enchantment.
The softness and malleability of Sessa Englund’s materials, including marzipan, silicone and latex, works against the distinctness of glass, resin, dried flora and found objects, creating a dichotomy that heightens a sense of vulnerability in the works. In the series A Fool’s Errands, the long and frail stems of dried sunflowers hold their balance through the delicate shaping of marzipan. One can only imagine the warm flesh of hands kneading paste into balm, pressing delicately around each base to support the impossibly tall flowers. Well past the prime and optimistic disposition of their youth, the sunflowers still draw enough strength to sustain themselves and trick gravity (and the viewer), against all odds. Less anthropomorphic in presentation, while still retaining a sense of memory and life, a pair of brash high-heeled snakeskin boots are kicked as if just removed and abandoned by their owner after a long day of work. The alluring tactility of the substance covering the soles makes us wonder of a creature who could walk or float while keeping the white silicone pristine. Through this resulting in-betweenness — of the familiar made unfamiliar, and the uncanny collision between materials and objects — Sessa Englund incites an attentive reading, and empathy toward the objects we choose to relate ourselves to.
Working, too, with the anthropomorphic qualities of objects while enhancing their surreal potential, Alicia Adamerovich reveals the capacity of the psychological effects environments have on us and our relationships with one another. The small, rendered graphite drawings depict dated decor, textures, flowers, and human forms all coexisting in a flattened dimension, which renders everything as if cut from the same cloth. With a hint of humour, the artist plays with reversibility — of the human figure as object — with an emphasis on anthropomorphism from a feminine perspective. In Tableau, what begins as a conventional still life alters when candles are transformed into fetishized objects, smoke takes the shape of lingering fingers and what could be a pacifier in the foreground becomes a menacing yet seductive lollipop. Adamerovich’s selection of objects is linked to memories of her rural upbringing, inviting viewers into a soft and beguiling world by way of cropped glimpses of scenes underscored with equal parts domesticity and eroticism. Her series of precise drawings acts as a vehicle for desire, anxiety and the inevitable to take shape, grasping these areas of tension as opportunities to dive into a space of transition, where feelings of the unconscious meet those of the familiar.