One Another: Spiderlike, I Spin Mirrors at the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo was an exhibit of works showed of the creative drive by some of the most inspirational female artists of the present. These pieces of work focused on the relationships of real and imagined. These pieces show the complexity of the artists’ cultures, ideals, and beliefs. The artist’s show relations in humans change with social interactions that play a big role in stating their parameters and possibilities.
Of the Beasts sculpted by Erika Wanenmacher is made up of a combination of wood, glass taxidermy eyes, paint, and steel. The steel figure is presumed to be Wanemacher’s own body, making this piece a form of a self-portrait. Covering the surface of the figure and glass taxidermy eyes from a variety of animals and are arranged to form the constellations, making the figure appear to be an “all-seeing, all knowing figure.” Wanenmacher reflects her thoughts and interests to show the human role in the natural world and creates sculptures and other installations that explore the different relation of nature and cultures.
Born sculpted be Kiki Smith in 2002 depicts a small deer that is giving birth to a fully-grown human female. Smith shows in this sculpture how humans and nature are connected to each other; without nature, humanity would cease to exist. This piece also symbolizes different cultures’ relations with nature. The first being Roman and the goddess Diana, who is known to be accompanied by deer while in forests. The second connection comes from a number of Native American cultures; it reflects the important relation with humans and the natural world. Smith once stated, “The fate of humankind is intimately interconnected with the health of the environment.” If the environment, symbolized by the deer, is to be destroyed, humans too will cease to exist.
Cleft Foot by Cathy de Monchaux is a part of a series of sculptures that explores the tensions of opposites. The strange detail and being made of both man-made and organic materials; fur, glass, rusted steel, brass, paper, leather, and concrete, de Monchaux’s sculptures call to mind splayed flesh, human orifices, and the ornament of religious relics. Her work is dependent on the viewer’s imagination. She states, “Personally, my concern, as someone who does not follow an organized religion, is how to achieve vehicles or objects of thought that have some resonance with the themes of human existence, i.e., birth, death, love, sex, mortality, etc.”
These works along with the other pieces in One Another: Spiderlike, I Spin Mirrors offer the insight on questions of how artists to better understand themselves and express thoughts and feelings about relations and identity. In this works, a figure is often a vehicle for exploring themes or empowerment, memory, self-preservation, sexuality, and transformation. The creative impulses of these artists serve as strong visual metaphors on beauty, decay, and the restorative qualities or art.