"Henbane: Dialectics of the Feminine Sublime"
What would you do with a Real Doll replica of yourself? Amber Hawk Swanson takes her silicone doppelgänger “Amber” to social events like a tailgating party and a wedding; with a hidden camera, she photographs men actually molesting the sex toy. Swanson’s images are disturbing, but her use of the Real Doll is one of many thoughtful approaches to the “feminine sublime” in this show, which emphasizes both pleasure and pain, life and death, and the potential splitting of the self.
Stacia Yeapanis uses cross-stitching—a technique generally associated with domesticity and tradition—to represent scenes from popular culture. Underneath a pained portrait of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Willow, the geeky redhead who’s Buffy’s best friend, the artist stitches “I love you, but this is something I have to do,” tapping into the romantic subtext identified by wishful fans. Yeapanis’s portraits suffuse the fleeting visuals of a “lightweight” television show with heart-wrenching emotion.
Jenny Kendler veers into a dreamy landscape with her sculpture—a mini terrarium in which a tiny girl is consumed by nature and lipstick—while Molly Schafer draws precise, contemporary interpretations of female centaurs. Their work isn’t as heavy as the other artists’, but it broadens the picture of the feminine sublime by incorporating nature. Still, we mainly want to know where Amber and her Real Doll will go next.