Sept. 8, 2014
Visual artist and Gallery of Contemporary Art board member Wendy Mike has unveiled her latest project “Embody: Offerings of Dimensional Soul” at the Colorado Springs Plaza of the Rockies. It consists of nine life-size sculptures of different subjects.
This exhibit is the latest piece of the Art Without Limits Project, a GOCA series which focuses on displaying portraits, sculptures and other works of art in areas outside the realm of commonly accepted art mediums.
Mike specializes in expressing movement in the human body. She used a variety of personal experiences in dance, yoga and other sports to craft many works of art that are portrayed or influenced by human body movement.
The sculptures are representations of individual people, wrapped in clear packing tape in a process called body casting. Mike also uses saran wrap to capture the moment of the body movement. She began wrapping and casting people around ten years ago. The exhibit initially debuted as a one night event entitled “Brilliance,” where the piece was installed in the nearby gallery space and accompanied by dancers and a light show to highlight the piece.
The piece was a surprise hit at the gallery. It was then moved outside and placed in a donated space by the Plaza of the Rockies.
“We started discussing [Mike’s] desire to exhibit these in a large public space, and so we started talking to the Plaza of the Rockies,” GOCA director Daisy McConnell said. “We contacted Chris Jenkins, who owns Nor’woods, and he is very supportive of the arts and having art in that donated space.”
McConnell has been the director of GOCA for the last four years and helped Mike transition the piece from the gallery to the plaza.
“The work really exemplifies our goal, which is to broaden people’s ideas of what art is and where you might encounter art, so it’s very exciting,” McConnell said about the exhibit. “It’s engaging. We relate to it on the human level, we dream of flying ourselves, of being weightless, and so I think it’s really exciting on a lot of levels.”
Showing movement is key to the exhibit, and one cast displays an expecting mother with her back foot pointed behind her and her left arm reaching into the air.
“I think it’s really cool,” nearby shopper Elizabeth Spowart said. “They’re flying the way angels do. They have the freedom of flight that we all want…they’re free of the emotions and inhibitions we all have.”
Another cast portrays what appears to be a child in the middle of demonstrating a cartwheel, while a different piece portrays a young man attempting to maintain a handstand.
More casts show a man in the process of climbing a rock wall while another displays a person in the process of a sprint. The latter is placed against a brick pillar over an aspen tree, portraying an illusion of someone who seems to be running up the pillar in a superhuman display of athleticism.
“Embody: Offerings of Dimensional Soul” can be seen at the Colorado Springs Plaza of the Rockies until Nov. 7. The Plaza is located at 121 S. Tejon St., and is open Monday through Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.