Maker Taker is an exhibition of work by five visual artists, Laurence Hegarty, Christa Maiwald, Jennie Nichols and TOKYO KAMEN, the collaborative duo Akihiko Ando and Eri Uchiyama. The artists deploy hats, dolls, lamps and shoes borne by a range of characters to engage the subjects of pop culture, immoderate consumption, political horror and drunken reverie.
Often staged as parades or processions, Laurence Hegarty's installations and sculptures employ found objects jostling for space alongside stuffed animals hoisting flags, phalanxes of rubber cameras, weapons, and sundry domestic objects. Frequently used are photographs and fragments of writing plundered from poems, psychoanalytical texts, European art cinema, liquor commercials and modernist painting. Hegarty, who has masters degrees in studio art and film studies, trained as a psychotherapist, maintains a private practice in New York City. The overlaps and collisions among studio art, cinema and psychoanalysis shape Hegarty's art making.
The corruption of innocence has always interested Christa Maiwald. Her new installation "Servitude" continues her use of lamps and embroidery to illuminate social injustice. The piece consists of thirteen 16-inch-tall lamps, each draped in a blue, gray or black maid's uniform. Part of each uniform is a white apron that bears the hand-embroidered portrait of a public figure who has overstepped the boundaries governing relationships between employer and employee. Some, like Thomas Jefferson and Strom Thurmond, sired children with a slave and a family housekeeper, respectively. Long Islanders Varsha Mahender Sabhnani and her husband, Mahender Murlidhar Sabhnani, kept two Indonesian women as slaves. Realtor Linda Stein was murdered by an employee she reportedly berated. Some contend that Hillary Clinton's demands helped drive Vince Foster to suicide. The miniature maid's uniforms are a generic symbol of "those who serve." Individually the portraits are like the team symbols on athletic uniforms that imply the identification of servant with master. However, that suggestion of identification is ironic, since collectively the portraits constitute a "hall of shame," a group portrait of specific villains and a representation of class disparity.
New York-based Jennie Nichols is exhibiting an extraordinary collection of unusual hand-made shoes. Her collection explores the enigmatic allure of shoes that has captivated people for centuries, Nichols's investigations are fueled by the mystic and magic of childhood fairy tales and movies, the glamour of high fashion and the silver screen, the sacrifice of comfort for beauty, and the control and manipulation of women's mobility and position in society through foot binding and extremely high platform shoes. Nichols uses shoes as a format to investigate the cultural, social, and personal politics of identity. Her shoes are fragile and tentative yet they have the power of fetishistic objects. They are made of both utilitarian and sensuous materials - metal, human hair, colored wire, sumptuous cloth, wood, or jewels - and appeal on a basic, almost visceral level ultimately evoking desire, indulgence and decadence, along with the fantasy and hope of transformation.
TOKYO KAMEN is a project launched by Tokyo-based artists/fashion designer duo Akihiko Ando and Eri Uchiyama since 2006. They seek a different approach from designing clothes through the creation of masked dolls ('Kamen' means Doll in Japanese) and search a free expression of the chaotic energy swirling in the city of Tokyo. The "VIP Man" series refers in a satirical manner to the accelerated consumer society typically represented by big name-brands with their refined marketing system; the masks of the dolls are made of the paper bags from worldly known brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc. that the artists had acquired through Yahoo auction on the internet. On display each doll is compressed in a plastic vacuuming bag, which is commonly used in Japan in order to stock futons or clothes in a limited living space, and piled up on the floor or crammed into a shopping cart as if they are those articles offered at a bargain sale. This setting could be read as an allusion of those who are constantly driven to obtain those fetish items but feel somehow suffocated by chasing after a given value order incessantly.