On the Cover:
Bonnie Collura, No Way Out But Through, 2020. Repurposed cloth, thread, quilt batting, and sheet foam, 122 x 60 x 48 in. Photo: Andrew Castaneda.
For David Altmejd, one of the exceptional artists featured this issue, the body is the primary theme upon which all the variations of his artistic practice are wrought. It is so central that, as he says, “sculpting heads” becomes “a kind of regular formal exercise that takes the place of drawing or sketching.” Of course, the human figure has been fundamental to art since the dawn of sculpture, and that remains true for many of the artists in this issue. Bonnie Collura peoples the universe of her Prince Project with characters influenced by the stories of Frankenstein and Pygmalion. Kris Lemsalu’s ceramic pieces frequently reference body parts, while her performances, rooted in memory, naturally deploy her own body as well as those of collaborators. And though Olivia Bax doesn’t make pieces that directly reference the body, she does, as she puts it, “always gender my work.” Each of her intensely colored abstract sculptures “ends up with its own character,” she says, “so it’s natural for me to personify them.” Of all the artists included here, Yasue Maetake produces work that seems farthest from the human body, and yet she includes such corporeal items as animal bones in some of her constructions. Indeed, she speaks of them in human terms when she explains that her sculptures “often appear to be in arrested states of rebirth.” It is difficult to escape the orbit of the body, for while ours might age, the body as subject never gets old. —Daniel Kunitz