‘This Flesh We Inhabit’ opens at Upper Jay Art Center Saturday

UPPER JAY — “This Flesh We Inhabit,” a multidisciplinary exhibition showing the work of Patricia Downs and Mollie Ward, opens at the Upper Jay Art Center this Saturday.

An opening party to celebrate this new exhibit is scheduled for 5-8 p.m. on Saturday. The exhibit will be on display on Sunday from 1-4 p.m. and Friday, April 26 from 5-8 p.m.

Both Downs and Ward are local artists currently living in Plattsburgh.

Downs creates sculptural forms, using primarily repurposed fibers. She explores and pushes the limits of her medium, and interrogates the historical and contemporary notions of what defines fine art, or its value over craft objects made through processes often thought of as “women’s work.”

Ward’s ceramic sculptures and large-scale pastel drawings depict the figure, in varying levels of abstraction. In “This Flesh We Inhabit,” viewers will see new and old work from the artists.

“In both their art practices, Downs and Ward are interested in unpacking their personal relationship with their bodies. While not explicitly figurative, Downs’ sculptures reflect her experiences as a woman, in a woman’s body in contemporary culture,” a news release from Upper Jay Art Center reads. “They are often abstract, and intuitively constructed, expressions of the varied and loaded concepts surrounding gender/femininity, the nature of living inside a human bodily form, and the links between one’s emotional, mental, and physical health. Ward focuses on the rolls and folds of the body that she has been conditioned to dislike, building vaguely body-like sculptures and colorful, figurative drawings. She creates objects to hold this discomfort, removing it from the physical body altogether, ultimately creating an object of celebration.”

Both Downs and Ward are focused on process, each using media with historical connotations in contemporary ways. Using fibers and methods of making that are typically associated with ideas of “the feminine” and “the domestic,” Downs engages and challenges the viewer’s perceptions and preconceived notions. She builds sculptures that take up physical space, claiming space for herself and for the traditions of fiber arts in venues like fine arts galleries. Being drawn to the physical nature of ceramics, Ward can fold and manipulate ceramics, asking the clay to form shapes pushing beyond the traditional uses of ceramics.

This exhibit travels throughout the building with two set of stairs.

For more information, visit https://tinyurl.com/y8rpwm7v.


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