Ceramic frogs: white, twisted, limp, splayed. Life-size. Magnified. Like ghosts.
Toy soldiers: brightly mounted by Play-Doh objects. Pacifying? Protesting?
Corpses: decay as an experiment, a study. As if the bodies belonged to nobody.
Real Art Ways is currently playing host to three separate exhibits centering on agents and victims of death.
Susan Classen-Sullivan, a local artist and Director of the Newspace Gallery at Manchester Community College, was inspired to create a series of ceramic frogs (”Love you more than life”) after viewing frogs’ corpses on a road.
Thursday evening was the opening for both her and Alix Lambert’s exhibits.
Lambert’s “CRIME” includes photographs, sculptures, a drawing, watercolor, and playing cards. Lambert did not make the playing cards; she was given the contraband by an inmate in the White Swan maximum security prison in Solikamsk, Russia. The cards were made by pasting book pages together; the black and red patterns were formed by applying burnt boot sole and blood to the cards.
Corpses are visible in several of Lambert’s black and white photographs. In Knoxville, the University of Tennessee’s Anthropology Research Facility (forensic anthropology) studies the rate of decay by leaving corpses in a variety of conditions over the 1.3 acres. Those who donate their bodies for research can request that their corpses not have certain experiences, like being submerged in water. In Lambert’s photographs, the viewer can see the hint of a body. At first it is unclear. Maybe these are models, posing. But in one of “The Body Farm” photographs, it is clear: teeth. A jawbone. Human remains.
Lambert describes the items in this exhibit as offering “a glimpse into both the creative and the transgressive impulses of the human spirit.”
On March 8th, Alix Lambert’s documentary, The Mark of Cain, will be screened. This is about the Russian prison system, as told through convicts’ tattoos.
Lambert and Classen-Sullivan’s work will be on display through April 8, 2012. Mark Williams‘ “The War is Over” — will close on April 1st.
Real Art Ways is located at 56 Arbor Street. The gallery is open on Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday from 2-10 pm, and Friday-Saturday from 2-11 pm.
Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford.
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