Some time ago, I was introduced to the work of Sonya Clark. It encapsulates the truth, which resides in our bodies. Hair, for example, contains information about our biology that we often neglect or forget. Our predispositions, if you believe they exist are engrained in every part of the body. Clark explores hair in such a way that brings her understanding and experiences to everyone (not just African-American men and women). One of the many reasons I love Clark’s work is in large part due to use of the body and the tools we use to maintain our bodies. The Combs Series evokes how something so simple and trivial can reflect complexities and intricacies of beauty and self-care. Clark’s utilization of simple materials to create visual complexity contrasts how combs are often seen as cheap, plastic, low quality tools used simply to groom unruliness.

Clark notes on her site, when talking about her projects entailing use of human hair,

“Deep with each strand, the vestiges of our roots resound. In this work hair is formed into markers of chronology, wisdom, and adornment”.

Much of her work resonates with me because in the past few years, I’ve had probably close to a dozen different hairstyles in the past couple of years. Co-workers even rumored that I had shaved my head, which is far from the truth. I merely had an extremely short pixie hairstyle someone misspoke and interpreted as a shaved head. In any case, it dawned on me the importance people hold on hair and beauty. Some women allow such an external characteristic to define their femininity. Yet, Clark doesn’t (only) re-make and re-interpret her body to create beautiful pieces of sculptural work. She believes in showcasing how the body itself can serve as a medium. She profoundly sculpts the truth in our bodies within her work.

Please visit her site here

A few weeks ago, my girlfriend and I went to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and watched Rottenberg’s new work entitled, Squeeze (2010). I titled part of my entry as ‘Interdependence’ because, coincidentially, I’ve been reading about interdepedence with others (and, even with inantimate objects) through a Buddhist lens and trying to incorporate that awareness within a meditative practice. Not only does Mika Rottenberg’s new work showcase the notion of interdependence, her entire body of work intermingles body image, use of the body, consumerism and labor. The women she incorporates into her film work (just to note, these women are not actresses) evoke gesture in such a way that is not only ritualistic but shows an end product in the ritualistic gestures and the women are, not only connected to each other, but to the viewer. Meticulsouly and brilliantly edited video installations create surreal manufacturing worlds for us to visually explore. In that viewing, the observer may see their connection to these women they watch. Hence, me bringing in the notion of interdependence because it is woven into her work seamlessly. She’s definitely an artist worth following. Even more noteworthy, she was a Whitney Biennele artist in 2008. I’m glad I found her sooner as opposed to later…

You can learn more about Mika Rottenberg here