by Phillip Valys (via SouthFlorida.com)
In her Polaroid self-portraits, Sarah Henderson inhabits female badasses from history and mythology: the Aztec goddess Coatlicue, a pregnant Mother Nature covered in ivy, Wild West gunslinger Calamity Jane, a crystal-toting guru named Amethyst.
The Coconut Grove artist is costumed in every portrait, created from a mosaic of smaller, square Polaroids that are reminiscent of photo pioneers Chuck Close and Mary Ellen Mark. Henderson says her “Woman Warrior” series, on display at Bailey Contemporary Arts (BaCA) in Pompano Beach, developed from her fascination with instant film and her internship with Mark, who shot celebrities with large-format Polaroid cameras.
“These are women that shaped my views on the mysticism of womanhood,” says Henderson, 30, an artist at Miami’s Bakehouse Art Complex. “They’re like figments of my imagination, but they’re also narratives of strength.”
Artists take selfies, and lampoon the art of self-portraits, in “Swimming With Narcissus,” the group-art show at BaCA. Curator Lisa Rockford, who has tackled selfie-obsessed behavior before in shows at Fort Lauderdale’s FAT Village, says the 50-work showcase is drawn from the Greek myth of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool. For this collection, Rockford says she handpicked artists who painted their “inner selves, their psychology, their personality and their childhood memories.”
“I looked for artists that made nontypical self-portraits,” Rockford says. “I think the public can identify with the artists’ characters or personas. They can catch glimpses of themselves in the mirrored artworks, and maybe reflect on ideas of how they see themselves. Our views of ourselves are never concrete. They evolve over time. They’re always fluid and distorted.”
BaCA’s gallery is filled with sculptures and installations fitted with funhouse-style mirrors. Down one narrow hallway, Katerina Friderici’s “Distorted Vanity 1 +2,” an installation of two magnifying lenses, is suspended from the ceiling at eye level. The installation needs two participants: one to stand behind the lens, lit with strings of lightbulbs, and the other to snap a photo of their warped face with a smartphone camera. Another visually alluring selfie: Adam Pizurny’s “Memento Mori,” in which the artist confronts his mortality with a looped, 15-second video of his face. Pizurny’s skin appears to ripple, revealing a skull underneath, in his self-portrait, made using 70 DSLR cameras that shot different angles of his face simultaneously, Peter Symons’ “Invisible Quilt,” a wall-mounted sculpture the size of a blanket, is built from 325 trapezoidal mirrors connected with zip ties. In Rick Herzog’s “Water Lilies,” circular mirrors are built into an installation of pink acrylic water lilies on seven pedestals, a reference to the artifice of Florida nature.
The influence of Florida’s wildlife on artists takes shape in Kate Helms and Michael Bauman’s photo series, which depicts Helms dressed in pinup costumes around South Florida. In the photo “Pompano Beach,” the Broward artist lounges by a swimming pool in a gold, one-piece swimsuit, dangling her orange, flower-bedecked high heels over the water. In “Exstasis,” she’s waist-deep in the Everglades, sporting a conquistador hat covered in pink mosquito nets. Helms straddles an inflatable alligator.
“For Kate, Florida is a myth, a kind of false Eden where paradise comes from well-manicured lawns,” Rockford says. “I think she’s tapping into how people’s personalities are shaped by their surroundings, and how we like to sanitize our identity.”
“Swimming With Narcissus” will host a reception 6-9 p.m. Thursday, July 21, at Bailey Contemporary Arts, 41 NE First St., in Pompano Beach. The show will close Aug. 19. Admission is free. Call 954-284-0141 or go to BaileyArts.org.
View original article on SouthFlorida.com