Siobhán Hapaska

SIOBHÁN HAPASKA
January 11- February 12, 2007
Opening reception Thursday January 11, 6-8pm
Gallery 2

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is pleased to present Siobhán Hapaska’s third solo exhibition in New York. The six new sculptures that comprise this body of work explore themes of conflict and resolution, both domestic and political, juxtaposing natural and synthetic materials to create works that are unique and extremely resonant. Though each sculpture incorporates disparate styles and themes, they are united by a thoughtful and coherent analysis of human interaction, addressing issues of communication, interiority, subjugation versus domination, loneliness and hurt, and presenting each serious topic with an element of humor, and an underlying hopefulness.

In the entryway, an ape on a pedestal greets the viewer. Titled “speaker”, its face morphs and swirls into a protrusion that resembles a flower. Like a three dimensional speech bubble from a cartoon, the flowering face of the ape represents language, with the stark black and white areas aggressively depicting authoritarian or fascist speech, and the softer more nuanced blues and oranges showing positive communication; significantly the two are intertwined, coming from the same mouth. A coil of woven leather extends from points on the ceiling around the ape, and down into the stairwell, leading the visitor back into the main gallery, and towards its origin, “looped linear thinking pac thing”; a low lying sleigh-like construction, covered in pony skin, which supports an open head, from which the brown woven leather emerges. This coil of leather, made by the repetitive activity of “finger knitting”, starts at the top of the sculpture’s “head” and is representative of the thought process, which can often seem endlessly cyclical, revisiting the same issues, like the repeating stitches of the cord. This repetition is critical however, just as many loops are necessary in order for the cord to grow, they are also necessary for the thought process to develop and progress.

The use of knitting in “no one to knit sweaters for”, a tower of cylindrical logs, wrapped in multicolored tubes of yarn, initially seems comfortingly domestic, but the warmth of the yarn contrasts with the creature that curves in and around it. A slick white head, encased in a tyvek hood, a last scrap of protection from a possible chemical attack, grows into a long similarly cylindrical body devoid of color. Symbolic of a fear of destruction, its lifeless form curves around the stacked structure, contrasting with the colorful logs, which represent the former liveliness of society. “no one won”, another work dealing with cultural dissolution, is comprised of a buffalo skull draped through with coyote skin; the two animals, both endemic to the Americas, are locked in conflict, and stripped of their dignity, both are fragments of their former selves, exhausted and depleted from a struggle which neither has won. From the base of the buffalo’s horns rise the masts of miniature ships, each sail is puffed full and seems to sail away from the skull itself, offering a sense of escape, and exploration, and the hopeful possibility of newfound land.

In “all that was left was polished chrome”, installed in the side gallery, the most intimate exploration of conflict takes place, as two foxes, with bodies fashioned from bed covers and draped in pelts, fight over an oak house. Their bodies are roped crudely to each other, bound together in their domestic struggle. A pine tree, shorn of its needles stands nearby, titled “fifteen hundred ways not to see”, it is covered in pinecones, which in turn are filled with the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The completed puzzle would depict a landscape of the natural environment of the tree, creating a poetic deconstruction.

In 2008, The Curve Gallery at The Barbican Centre in London, will show a solo exhibition of Siobhán Hapaska’s work. In February of 2007 she will collaborate with David Adjaye and Oswaldo Macia on an offsite commission for the Whitechapel Art Gallery. Living and working in London, Hapska’s recent exhibitions include, The Wave, permanent public commission, ILAC Centre, Dublin, 2006; British Art Show 6, The Hayward Gallery, London and other UK venues, 2005 (group); Extreme Abstraction, Albright Knox Museum, Buffalo, 2005 (group); Vertiges, Printemps de Septembre a Toulouse, France, 2005 (group); Playa de los Intranquilos, Peer Gallery, London, 2004 (solo); cease firing on all fronts, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, 2003 (solo); among others.