The Somatic Mirror by runout


									The Somatic Mirror
Judith S. Larsen: Splice, Iris print on paper : 18” x 22”

   Ann Hirsch; The Watchers Installation, Schnook

                © 2006 MarqArts Press
The Somatic Mirror

What does it mean that infants are born without a pre-defined sense of self and other?

How is it that the question of our reflection (what is me and what is not me) is played out over
and over in our lives, society and history, often violently?

The soft tissue of human experience – feelings, beliefs and behaviors – are lost in the hard
facts, bones and artifacts of history. A somatic history would capture the fleshy parts of us that
couldn’t be dug up a thousand years later.

The artists in Somatic Mirror: Reflecting Self and Other use the body as reflective surface and
as looking glass to explore the personal and social.

What do we see in the Somatic Mirror -- a mere reflection of our physical self, an aperture to
the soul? Or does its very nature confirm the fissure between internal and external, the kines-
thetic and the visual, self and other?
    The Somatic Mirror:
           Reflecting Self and Other

                  Works by:

     Lisa Lunskaya Gordon: Mixed Media
Jehanne-Marie Gavarini: Sculptures, Installation
          Judith Larsen: Photography
            Ann Hirsch: Installation
            Lisie Orjuela: Paintings

        Curator: Peter John Marquez
         Essays: Peter John Marquez
       Catalog Editor: Connie Blaszczyk
          Publisher: MarqArts Press

Our first experiences as babies stem from our perceived unity with our surroundings – womb, breast,
mother, universe.

Indeed, studies by French psychologist Henri Wallon show that infants see their reflections as connected
to their world – something to learn, play and experiment with – something other than a reflection of

Lisa Gordon’s work captures the body as abstracted and alien, and yet, familiar. These bodyscapes
boldly challenge the viewer to search the somatic mirror for a connection to self, to perhaps recognize
other as self.

Lisa Lunskaya Gordon
  Body Landscape 1
Digital Print: 44” x 57”

  Body Landscape 2
Digital Print: 44” x 65”

In the ancient world, the mirror was used for temporal (grooming) and more commonly spiri-
tual (ritual) purposes. Made of polished bronze or obsidian derived from dark volcanic glass,
early mirrors were never perfect. Their reflection was almost always dark and, to the modern
eye, distorting.

The somatic mirror shares those qualities, and like a hall of mirrors, the image we receive
changes as we move.

Jehanne-Marie Gavarini’s sculptures embody transformative experience. At first glance, the
work is seen as an object – structurally and clearly “other.” On closer inspection, however, the
somatic mirror emerges and we recognize ourselves in Gavarini’s creations. This evolving rec-
ognition produces the unsettled realization that the work is commenting on us, specifically on
how we see sexuality represented in our reflection.

Jehanne-Marie Gavarini
Sculpture, Installation

Mathilda and Strange Attractor
    Sculpture, Installation

In tombs and pyramids, the ancients would leave mirrors next to the dead. There the mirror
found its place as death’s soul mate, its opposite, its completion. The Egyptian word for mirror
is ahk, life.

In the crypt, the fissure between life/death (self/other) was directly addressed by painting a hu-
man eye on the mirror’s surface. This eye presented the viewer with the prospect of being seen
and judged as other.

Echoing ancient tradition, Judith Larsen projects her eye on the surface of the body. Her photo-
graphs turn the mirror on itself – hiding self in other, hiding the body in the mirror – the mir-
ror in the mirror.

Judith Larsen
Iris print on paper: 18” x 22”

Iris print on paper: 18” x 22”
Iris print on paper: 33” x 42”

Iris print on paper: 33” x 42”

The disequilibrium of looking in the somatic mirror does not come from seeing one’s Self in
a mirror -- self-recognition is a natural development. It is the attending self-awareness -- the
child’s realization that the reflection in the mirror is the me others see -- that causes the rup-

It is the realization that you are other for others -- that you can be seen, interpreted, questioned,
marginalized, denied -- that begins modern life’s quest to prove existence.

The wisdom of indigenous peoples’ fear of the camera has been misunderstood and simplified.
It is not simply an irrational fear of stealing the soul, but more accurately, of taking away your
oneness, your certainty of self.

Ann Hirsch’s work, sculptured freely from six reference models ( 2 male, 4 female) embody
these ideas by using her own face as the reflection’s starting place. The Watchers are true so-
matic mirrors. They not only reflect self, they stare back and defiantly insist on your otherness.

Ann Hirsch
    The Watchers
Sculpture, Installation

    The Watchers
Sculpture, Installation
The Watchers: Schnook
 Sculpture, Installation

 The Watchers Series
Sculpture, Installation

The modern infant is forced to break the unity of its existence and accept other. The confisca-
tion of oneness is set in motion as the child is educated to see, believe, and accept that breast,
mother and universe are not self.

To ease this loss, children develop transitional objects -- teddy bears, blankets and pacifiers --
to bridge the gap. These objects are recognizable -- not Other, and at the same time, more than
Self. They resemble (re-assemble) the oneness and lost wholeness of the soul.

Transitional objects are reassigned to more socially acceptable objects (sex, sports, drugs,
money, power) as we age, their function the same as in childhood.

Art too can be a transitional object, one that expresses, reminds and restates our connected-
ness. Lisie Ojurela’s paintings use the hidden and universal to explore how we might reclaim
what was taken away.

Lisie S. Orjuela
    Slippery Strength
Oil on canvas: 18” x 17”

Oil on canvas: 62” x 63”
    Milonga in Violets
Oil on canvas: 12” x 16”

Oil on canvas: 46”x 54”
Oil on canvas: 46” x 54”


Boston area mixed media artist Lisa Lunskaya Gordon began her career as a photographer, moved
into print making, and then dove into sculpture. Her recent series, dealing with issues of spiritual
purity, bridges these disparate media. The work examines the body through a series of prints trans-
lated from still frames exported from video. Gordon shot the video of living statues drawn from
biblical figures during a performance event she staged.

Gordon is a recent graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s MFA program and
exhibits her work and curates shows locally, nationally and internationally.

Jehanne-Marie Gavarini is a visual artist who has been working across disciplines for many years.
Her work examines contemporary compulsions and collective anxieties and is fueled by her inter-
est in human ambivalence toward social rules and cultural norms. Her installations address global
issues such as gender dynamics, violence and power struggles. In the last five years, Gavarini’s
work has investigated desire, seduction, fantasies, and sexuality as subjects of representation. Her
objects bridge the public and private realms by combining domestic items with industrial materi-
als such as metal and hardware. These objects mix humor with darker emotions, leaving room for
viewers’ interpretation

Jehanne-Marie Gavarini’s artistic work has been exhibited extensively in Europe and the United
States. Gavarini is the recipient of several artistic awards as well as grants and residencies. In par-
ticular, her work has been recognized by the Somerville Arts Council, the Massachusetts Cultural
Council, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Bronx Council on the Arts. In 2000, she was
an artist in residence at the Centre de Recherche d’Echange et de Diffusion pour l’Art Contempo-
rain in Ivry-sur-Seine, France. She is currently an Associate Professor of Art at the University of
Massachusetts Lowell.

In addition to her artistic work, Gavarini writes about art and visual culture. She is the co-transla-
tor of Tomboy, an autobiographical novel by acclaimed Franco-Algerian writer Nina Bouraoui.
Tomboy will be published in 2007 by the University of Nebraska Press.

Judith Larsen’s work incorporates the figure as an empty vessel which is infused with a series of
images from the history of art and science. The images are made by projecting transparencies onto
the blank slate of the human body. The projections reference various cultural inscriptions, biologi-
cal patterning and diagrams by visionaries attempting to understand the nature of our humanity.
Larsen’s images challenge the viewer to decipher or look beyond the ‘apparent’ and imagine the
implications of these symbolically clad vessels. As the figure and imagery merge, the body begins
to shed its epidermal shield and inhabit its own metaphors.

Judith S. Larsen has an MFA in Painting and a BFA in Education and Fine Art from The School of
the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University in Boston, MA. She has taught painting, drawing, de-
sign and computer techniques for artists at Wellesley College, the Boston Architectural Center, the
Boston Museum of Fine Art, and Mass. College of Art. Larsen has also taught at the Project Zero
Summer Institute at Harvard University.

Larsen has exhibited widely in the New England area, as well as nationally, and is represented in
numerous collections, including the DeCordova Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Fidel-
ity Management and the Graham Gund, Engelhard, Rockefeller and Stephen D. Paine Collections.
Larsen is a member of the Board of Governors for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and is the
Visual Arts Editor for the Harvard Review. She has been represented by the OHT Gallery in Boston,
MA for the last 5 years.

Ann Hirsch is a Cambridge-based artist who creates animate and inanimate sculpture and instal-
lation art. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Art History and Fine Arts from Columbia University
where she specialized in Italian Renaissance Sculpture. She also holds a Master’s degree from
New York University and an M.F.A. in Sculpture from the New York Academy from which she re-
ceived a one-year research fellowship. During the 1990’s she was granted four consecutive travel
fellowships which brought her to Italy to study the Italian Renaissance first-hand. These experi-
ences have played a vital role in shaping her vision, iconography and aesthetic.

A dominant thread in much of her work is the merging of her formal figurative training with
contemporary formats, media and concepts. She continually returns to the theme of the cloned
variant in multi-figure compositions and installations by sculpting or mold-making and casting the
same prototype for each of the figures. Her sculpture is driven by a naturalistic handling of the
body but often recontextualizes historical iconography and uses seriality, and subtle androgyny
and anthropomorphism, as means to evoke tension between individuation and non-individuation,
the same and the other.

Since receiving her M.F.A. in 2002 she has shown extensively in New York and Massachusetts and
has worked as an objects restorer, primarily of Italian Renaissance sculpture, for which she sculpts
missing body parts.
Lisie S. Orjuela’s richly colored oil paintings explore the inner world of the soul, spirit, psyche and
mind. More often than not, she uses the human figure to explore this limitless realm. Currently
working in Trumbull, CT, Orjeula is originally from South America. She studied art at Andrews Uni-
versity in Michigan, at the Arts Students League of New York, and at New York University.

Orjuela’s intimate canvases boldly explore the subtle thoughts, feelings and experiences that drive
human interactions. The figures in her work often inhabit a luxurious realm of tapestry, textures
and shapes, their movements and rituals free of literal interpretation. They invite the viewer to
explore and re-imagine the perceptions of their life experiences, memories and dreams.

Lisie has shown her work in solo exhibitions in MA, CT, NJ, DE, MO, IL, OK, and Mexico and has
also participated in numerous group exhibitions throughout the country.

Peter John Marquez is a New York-born writer and entrepreneur who has worked on Wall Street, Broadway and in
Silicon Valley. A multiethnic with roots that stem from the Caribbean to Africa, South Asia and Europe, Peter has
always been interested in humanity’s propensity for dualities -- black/white, godly/godless, mind/body, self/other
-- and the benefits and limits of seeing the world in that way.

The Somatic Mirror reflects Peter’s interest in how these dualities (which have been expressed in both gracious
and horrific ways throughout history) begin with the individual’s acceptance and experience of splitting the uni-
verse in two -- and the cognitive dissonance that results.

                 The Somatic Mirror:
                         Reflecting Self and Other

  The original The Somatic Mirror exhibit was presented at the Brickbottom Gal-
lery in Somerville, Massachusetts. The Brickbottom Gallery is managed by the
Brickbottom Artists Association with support from the Somerville Arts Council
and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The Gallery Director is Debra Olin.

The essays in this catalog are based on the ideas of Henri Wallon, Donald Win-
nicott, and Jacques Lacan, as well as the writings of Sabine Melchior-Bonnet and
Morris Berman.

                                Special Thanks :
    Connie Blaszczyk ,Mary Curtin, Tracy Kaplan, Debra Olin, Wally Gilbert,
             Robert Martel and the Brickbottom Artists Association

         This book and the featured art are available for sale.
              For more information and pricing contact or

         The works contained and represented in this book
           are the property of the work’s original creator.

     The unauthorized reproduction, print, post, display, copy,
sale or distribution of these works, or images there of, is prohibited.

                         © 2006 MarqArts Press

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