Intimate Gazing at MART Gallery, Rathmines – 1 March 2019.
Featuring: Rae Goodwin, Sophie Mars , Francis Fay, Conor Coady, Eleanor Lawler, Valerie Driscoll.
Curated by: Eleanor Lawler and Francis Fay.
As our contemporary social interactions become more fractured and impersonal, we strive to connect with one another through the intuitive language of our bodies. Raw and real, we reach for understanding and commonality through bodily action and live performance. Livestock “Intimate Gazing” is a sensitive look at our bodies and the relationships we have to each other,
Rae Goodwin & Sophie Mars
Perhaps needed now more than ever, we (Rae and Sophie) are concerned with questions of empathy and of acceptance and respect for female/femme/female identified bodies. What is it to be curious about another body/ to regard the body of another? In this collaborative project we set out to question: Can a woman regard the vulva of another woman with neutrality? Can a female or femme person regard another without the critical judgment born of the “male gaze”? Can we, as female/femme persons, remark on the qualities of another female/femme/female identified body with embodied consideration and kindness? This performance is made possible through the generosity of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Kentucky.
In 2015 Rae Goodwin and Sophie Mars met at Essential Departures, a performance art residency at Rosekill, an outdoor performance art venue in upstate NY. After Rae’s performance, regarding bodies, they decided to collaborate to create a new work, regarding vaginas. Now titled intimate gazing, This project has been performed with different structures at Rosekill Performance Art space in NY, Panoply Performance Laboratory in Brooklyn, the ClitArt Festival in England, in association with APAB-month of performance art Berlin and in Paris and Madrid. Rae and Sophie continue touring this series to galleries, museums, women’s centre’s, social centre’s, queer events and festivals.
Sophie Mars is a performance artist living and working in Berlin, Germany. She is interested in participatory, sensory and immersive work exploring collective and spontaneous energy and idiosyncratic ritual as new means of viewing and transforming space both physically and ontologically. Always interrogating the role of the body in today’s (digital) context, her themes include intimacy, sexuality, virtual reality and healing. She combines her two fields – dance therapy and performance – in an effort to bring about a transformation. She is currently working on a sexuality podcast, touring the body positive “Intimate Gazing” project with co-founder Rae Goodwin and collaborating with the virtual reality collective KEIKEN.
Rae Goodwin is concerned with maternal ancestry as it influences the construction of identity, assumptions of strength and notions of agency. Individual Grandmothers in our society, after a whole life they are seen thru the lens of their role or perceptions of their archetype and vastly undervalued. When she asks people about their own grandmothers many confess they do not know her first name, how she grew up, nor her favorite music. Many people do not wonder about her until after she has passed. The absence in presence and presence in absence of this grandmother figure in the social lives of families, leads her to think about relationships, relationality and vulnerability in the work. Goodwin lives and works in Kentucky, USA . Her work has shown work at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, McColl Center for Visual Art, Dimanche Rouge in Paris, 10/12 Gallery in Brussels, defibrillator gallery, Panoply Performance Laboratory, Grace Exhibition Space, SUPERNOVA, BIPAF and MPAB festivals and other venues. Goodwin also serves as Associate Professor and Director of Art Foundations at the University of Kentucky.
Francis Fay & Conor Coady
Today, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and dating sites like Grinder and Gaydar, facilitate a heightened degree and volume of engagement, with online personae often subsituting these erstwhile embodied realities. Frequently updating profiles, quantifying ‘Likes’ and changing photographs have however been reported to feed a narcissistic obsessiveness distancing users from that which they most yearn – intimacy, connectedness, transcendence – in a vain attempt for distraction from loneliness and alienation.
The saturation of pornography throughout our society has likewise been attributed to the same impulse. Sexualisation and violence serve as the soundtrack of contemporary culture, noise interfering with the moment, with being present, with being intimate. But what if instead of having our heads buried in a mobile phone or glued to a screen, we were to find ourselves in an environment in which real bodies exist and virtual identities are absented?
This durational performance, an intermittent soundscape culled from found Internet porn videos plays in the near dark, could just as easily be bells, car horns or the noise of a crowd at a football match. A spotlight shines from above on two men, standing naked, face-to-face.
The “Invisible Woman” is me, a sixty year old “former”. I formed the life of myself as a young woman, I formed a lasting relationship, I formed my children, I formed the life we had together as a family, I formed in former times, what happens now? I have become invisible, no longer “pertinent, perceptive, perky, precocious, precious, permanent”. In a society that values surface, image and the lie, where does maturity, experience, persistence, gravitas and confidence fit? My work endeavours to express my obstinate persistence to live and to be heard in a world where vying for attention becomes a valued skill. Of course, I too am vying for attention, “don’t turn off the lights, I’m still here”, “I’m not finished yet”, “not by a long chalk!”.