Projet Pangée is proud to present Fantasy Body, an exhibition uniting the works of Brooklyn-based artists Rose Nestler, Danielle Orchard and GaHee Park around notions of desire as a driving force for art making. Reflecting on questions of sexuality and female identity in patriarchal society, the artists create sculptures, paintings, and drawings that open spaces for fantasy to take shape. By playing with and manipulating “feminine” codes of representation like seduction, eroticism and fetishism, the artists, with humour, a keen sense of introspection and slight subversion, infuse an omnipotent and contagious female-driven power into their works.
Through her sculptures and wall hangings, Rose Nestler makes explicit the potential for power that resides in the materiality and form of clothing. In her high relief piece, Woman with a Book (After Léger), Nestler reinterprets Fernand Léger’s 1923 oil painting in padded pink velvet, with a single conical breast piercing a plush book the figure clutches. The wall sculpture reads as startling armour, fulfilling its protective and menacing role, yet holding on to coquetry with its ruffled collar and slightly macabre black leather roses. In Nestler’s recent works, there is clear intent to subvert conventional and trite feminine characteristics, presenting their revised, intimidating forms as attributes for liberty. Also playing with the symbolism of armour, GaHee Park depicts cropped torsos with such firmness and definition that they are reminiscent of crustacean shells, perhaps also protecting soft innards. Wandering fingers and nails appear here and there like claws, clenching and squeezing nipples and ripe fruits alike. Elements of still life and erotic play are often intertwined in Park’s paintings, merging seamlessly where gestures of nourishment and sexual acts are often interchangeable. In these vivid scenes that Park imagines and constructs, there is a desire to seek the strange in the familiar, to create an impending sense of drama in a narrative she controls. In Danielle Orchard’s scenes, moments of domesticity and intimacy hold stillness, as if time could be stretched into a single gesture. In her recent series depicting women smoking near windows, the alluring héroïnes feel equally intimate and cinematographic, deploying a subtle sense of nonchalant inaccessibility. Set in jewel-toned decors, the characters project boredom and inner restlessness. While they are watched by the viewer, their gazes averted keep their days rooted in mystery.