Colleen Toledano: subFoundation

Aug 29th - Sep 21st, 2008

When walking through the city I often pass construction sites were I’m repeatedly drawn to the exposed internal framing of buildings. The skeletal-structure is erected from shoddy 2 x 4’s above a poured concrete foundation. In viewing the existing outline, I can imagine the layers of material that will work together to provide strength and a system of support for the building, although it clearly depends upon the foundation beneath. In the deconstruction of buildings, it’s the integrity of the raw ground that really interests me; this substructure that I feel is necessary for the existence of a “foundation”.

In the past, I have designed tools that theoretically enable body modifications and enhancements to “better” one’s physical appearance. The “do-it-yourself” objects were created to suggest self-sufficiency in surgical procedures, providing the user with power and control. Although this concept still interests me, I have come to think of the human body as a subfoundation, a base upon which modifications and alterations may be performed to the benefit of one’s physical and mental well being. I am attracted to the appearance of the skin when it is squeezed, tucked, pulled, folded or deflated. These physical contortions evidence both the owner’s control and that of changes, which are naturally and inevitably occurring within the body.

As a medium, clay is supple and can be easily molded and shaped manually. These traits allow me to have a very intimate relationship with the material. My pieces are constructed, worked and reworked with my hands. This hands-on process is important to the development of my work. Pieces have a feeling of being worked on, constructed, and cared for, much like how I imagine it would be to work on my own body. Although the majority of my pieces consist of a variety of materials, such as leather, acrylic glass and metal, the most important components are the small and seemingly overlooked decorative ceramic objects. These objects evoke ideas of possible function or necessity. My pieces depend upon them to denote an activity to be performed or to provide the support for a larger structure.

This work reflects my ongoing interest in the relationship we have with our bodies and how we choose to make improvements. Ultimately the decision to modify our bodies is our own.

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The Evelyn Shapiro Foundation presents Colleen Toledano's 2008 exhibition at The Clay Studio, "SubFoundation".

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