Enigma and Persona: Mystery, Embodiment, and Presence
The Work of Elli Crocker and Sachiko Akiyama
On view: October 20–December 15, 2018
Reception: Saturday, October 20, 4–6 p.m.
This exhibit features figurative work by two Boston-area artists who celebrate and examine the mysterious connection between humans and the natural world. Sachiko Akiyama's hand-carved wood sculptures resonate with Elli Crocker's paintings and drawings, as the two artists show together for the first time, combining years worth of work for this thematic two-person exhibition, on view October 20–December 15 in the Gallery at Barrington Center for the Arts.
Elli Crocker | Artist Statement
For many years I have been exploring our relationship to the natural world—specifically the human/animal interface. Referencing folklore, myth, religious constructs, and medieval bestiaries, I recognize universal, enduring, and primal responses to the mystery of our brutal co-existence with the “other.” However, these ancient antecedents assume new meaning when seen in the context of current cultural and ecological dramas.
The Portage series, in which animals carry humans or humans carry animals, addresses issues of stewardship and mutual interdependence with other living beings. I am also playing with odd juxtapositions that speak to associations and anxieties related to the human body and certain animals. The polarity of mind/body is a central motif, as is the insistent, erotic power of the life force. I seek to portray that which is animal within us, as well as that which is divine—and this may be one and the same.
The genesis for the Knotted Earth series was an artist residency in western Ireland in 2014. I was struck by how the earth had been scraped away to fissured rock in the region known as the Burren—both by the elements and by human activity. It felt like one could see the bones of the planet and could peer into deep layers of human history revealing a tangled skein of sea, land, creature, and story. We stand on layers of life accumulated over millennia, knowing that we too will become part of these strata of spirit, sand, soil, and stone. We stand on the shoulders of those who stood and crawled and crept before us, as one day we will hold the generations that will succeed us. We stand in gratitude and awe, fear and hope.