Cynthia Consentino’s Surreal Ceramics Mix And Match Heads, Torsos And Legs

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You won’t find cadavers or skeletal remains in ceramic artist Cynthia Consentino’s “Exquisite Corpse Series.” The project takes its name from the Parisian Surrealist parlor game, in which each player wrote a word or drew an image on a sheet of paper, folded the paper to conceal it, and passed it to the next player for his or her contribution. The results were wildly incongruous poems and images, gathered ideas from many minds.

In Consentino’s series, hers is the only mind at work, and the results are strangely charming and more than a little disturbing. The hybrid figures combine animal with human and the occasion household object. They play with the idea of gender stereotypes, something that began to interest the artist after reading a study where five-year-olds were asked to name a representational animal.

“The boys identified with animals that were predatory, and the girls with animals that were cute and cuddly. One girl even answered with a flower. I thought that there would also be girls who wanted to be tigers, but then I remembered loving playing a flower in a school play at that age. (Source)”

To loosen these gender constructs, she made varied heads, torsos, and legs then assembled them in ceramic sculptures of various configurations, some almost life-size. With their softly rounded limbs and pastel and pretty color palette they can seem almost sweet, but the fierce wolves heads and deadly weapons belie their innocence.

“My style seems a bit nostalgic, something from the fifties, or from folk art. It derives much of its character from children’s things: fairy tale, cartoons, dolls, games, as well as the domestic world. The work often incorporates imagery that is loaded with symbolism and history, such as flowers, animals and the ceramic figurine. It is very much about the familiar, things of our dreams, our stories, our childhood. (Source)”

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EVENT ALERT: Shelf-Life 2 This Saturday at UCS!

This Saturday Beautiful/Decay will be leading an exciting zine workshop at USC for Shelf-Life 2: A Big Day for Small Press, a one-of-a-kind event featuring an influential group of independent publishers, artists, writers, and designers whose voices and images have questioned and pushed the boundaries of popular culture. Celebrating the DIY spirit that Beautiful/Decay champions yours truly will be working with attendants to create a communal zine celebrating the art of the Exquisite Corpse. Attendants will create their own exquisite corpse along with short fictional texts that will be bound into a spectacular zine of awesome proportions!

If that’s not enough Gary Panter, Chip Kidd, and Byron Coley will also be giving various workshops along the way with lots of other talented DIY creatives from around the world.

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