Fad Bodies is a new exhibition of new mixed media constructions from Alex Ebstein at Brooklyn's VICTORI + MO gallery, on view until 4 June 2017. The show builds on the American artist’s series of large-scale yoga mat sculptural abstractions and introduces two freestanding mixed media sculptures consisting of tables displaying Yoni Eggs, a gemstone meditation egg for women.
For the first time, Ebstein is presenting her work as an installation, creating a tangible environment in which her 2D pieces can exist. Covering the gallery floor with yoga mats and installing ballet bars as functionless accents to the space, discipline and perfection become part of a larger branded aesthetic.
Reflecting a progressive shift in the artist's overall practice, this installation features abstractions sourced from the body and demonstrates a gradual separation from her intimate relationship with paper and small-scale drawings. Subsequent to her diagnosis of glaucoma and the multiple surgeries to save her vision that followed, Ebstein had an artificial lens placed in her eyes resulting in long-term vision aberrations that landed her somewhere between near and far sightedness. This was the catalyst for her work becoming increasingly tactile.
Ebstein’s wall-bound pieces, presented as painting, are made with hand-cut yoga mats and powder-coated aluminium forms bolted to the image’s picture plane. Gaps between the pieces of mat reveal the painting beneath the collaged surface and emphasise the imperfect presence of the hand.
The exhibition's main sculptural assemblage, ceramic pieces presented on tile topped tables made by the artist, hold Yoni Eggs. These nest-like display structures investigate the aesthetics of marketing accessory and adornment – superfluous objects associated with the body.
An additional side effect of glaucoma, Ebstein found she could no longer practice yoga. The move to mats as material in her pieces started as a physical act of separation. Acting as a synthetic proxy for the body, the pieces participate in a consideration of the body in design, a simultaneous absence/presence of functionality and the standard assumed proportions it serves. Ultimately, Fad Bodies creates an analog to spaces hyper-tuned to the body, like the gym, sauna or dance studio, yet one devoid of utility. They suggest bodies on display even as they are not present.
Main image: Alex Ebstein: Fad Bodies at VICTORI + MO, until 4 June, 2017, Courtesy of the artist and VICTORI + MO