Thursday, March 10, 2016

TAG Interviews Elyse Wyman

Sign Language is Elyse Wyman's current show at TAG on view through March 19, 2016.
Elyse Wyman, Woman's Work, Mixed media bas relief, 32 x 15 x 4"

We asked her a few questions:

Have you always lived in Southern California? 
Yes, I was born and raised in Los Angeles. In fact, I am a fourth generation Californian. I did spend a year abroad in Paris, France as a college student. There I studied the great European art traditions as well as the more modern artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Duchamp and many others.

What historical art movement would you choose as identifying most with your work?
I am inspired by Joseph Cornell’s often dream-like shadow boxes, sometimes called “memory boxes” or “poetic theaters.” His work in turn was inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s “readymades” or found objects from the Surrealist Dada art movement. Like Cornell, I am interested in the memories and feelings evoked by the items contained within the female shapes I have chosen as my “memory boxes." I layer the torsos with significant objects, paintings, and personal fragments, exposing the female figure to deeper scrutiny. I invite the viewer to peek into my private world, which is both revealed and concealed within these transparent forms.

What is the significance of plastic forms in your newest work? How do they contribute to the structure, the meaning?
The plastic forms come from the fashion industry. They are highly structured female shapes, most likely designed by men, and are conventionally used to display bathing suits. Their shapes are more akin to the unattainable figure of a Barbie doll than to the flesh and blood human form. In my artwork they function as structural containers for the assemblages inside them. They serve as both physical and psychological containers for the artwork within their confines. They display the female as both subject and object. These visual double entendres demonstrate how context can determine meaning and how meaning changes according to context.
Elyse Wyman, Yield/Allegorical Muse, Mixed media bas relief, 34 x 15 x 4"

What are the key themes that run through your work?
In this latest body of work I explore the dynamics and interrelationships of female identity, sexuality, gender and body stereotypes. I am attempting to illuminate the deeper emotional level generally hidden by the more carefully managed armor we show to the outside world.
I also fuse separate entities to reveal things we often take for granted. Seemingly ordinary road and warning signs (such as “Yield,” “No Outlet” and “Keep Off The Grass”) take on new meaning when placed inside the female form. This intersection of disparate elements results in new, sometimes humorous interpretations.
Elyse Wyman, Keep Off the Grass, Mixed media bas relief, 29 x 15 x 4"

How do you like people to view your work—from across the room, or close up?
If I were viewing my show for the first time I would stand back at first to take in the span of the colorful bas-relief figures hanging on the wall from coat hangers. Then, I’d definitely come in for a closer look at each piece as there are many interesting details to discover in each of them. For instance, “Empty Nest” contains an actual Hummingbird nest and a gold leafed leaf. “Exposed Heart” features a rare piece of red seaweed as its core. “The Grass Is Always Greener” and “Keep Off The Grass” both feature strategically placed fake grass.
Elyse Wyman, Installation View

Elyse Wyman, Empty Nest, Mixed media bas relief, 34 x 15 x 4"

Elyse will be part of an Artist Panel at TAG this Saturday, March 12, 3pm.
Feel free to leave her any questions here in the comments.

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