Womanhood 102: Lesley Bodzy and Katie Commodore Challenge Gender Norms

Installation view Womanhood 102 (with Lesley Bodzy’s Soft Embrace I, 2022. Acrylic. 69 x 43 x 11 inches, on the left and works by Katie Commodore in the middle and on the right). Courtesy of the curator.

A golden, shimmering drapery cascades from the wall—the skin-like surface of Soft Embrace is from Lesley Bodzy’s experimental work with acrylic paint. She uses the liquid pigment as a sculptural material, shaped into a malleable cloth, reminding of Lynda Benglis’s poured latex on the floor or Eva Hesse’s visceral and alluring sculptures. The sensuous object evokes a tactile experience, an imagination of how touching it might feel, through looking. Matter surprises, entering a threshold between fluid and solid, elasticity and delicacy. Jamaica Kincaid’s 1978 story Girl tells a mother-daughter dispute about how a girl should behave. “…on Sundays try to walk like a lady and not like the slut you are so bent on becoming…” The mother’s advice seems endless and castigating, instructing every aspect of daily living. Side-by-side, Bodzy’s curved drapery recalls ‘how girls should behave,’ as it seemingly hides things beneath and its smooth surface presents an image of flawless elegancy, concealing feelings in a muted position.

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