All the Flesh of His Body: Solo show at Sarah Doyle Gallery

Image: Which Used to be Bound with Thongs and Ropes.  Archival pigment print. 15" x 22". 2013.
The Sarah Doyle Gallery is pleased to present a solo show by Sarah Bliss: All The Flesh of His Body.
Sarah Doyle Gallery.  26 Benevolent St, Providence RI
February 25 — March 22, 2013
Opening reception: Thursday, February 28, 6-7 pm

"All the flesh of his body quivered like a tree in a current or like a bulrush in a stream, every limb and every joint, every end and every member of him from head to foot. He performed a wild feat of contortion with his body inside his skin.... He sucked one of his eyes into his head so deep that a wild crane could hardly have reached it to pluck it out from the back of his skull on to his cheek."  (from the 1st century Irish epic, Táin Bó Cúailgne)

This exhibition of sound, video and photographic work investigates language and the body as sites of slippage, transformation, fragility and power. Incubated during an extensive stay on the remote Gaeltacht (Gaelic-speaking) coast of southwest County Kerry, Ireland, Bliss' work probes the nature of a language's rootedness in place, body, and culture, and the impact of its loss. Sound and video pieces engage the aural, linguistic and literary Irish landscape, drawing from contemporary conversation, the 1st century pre-Christian epic "Táin Bó Cúailgne", and St. Patrick's 5th century "Confessio".

The video "You Leave Here" considers the impact on the voice when its access to language is ruptured, or when language fails due to trauma. Addressing cultural amnesia and dislocation, it explores the aftermath of persistent emigration and the radical changes in lifestyle and livelihood brought about by the increasing impossibility of earning a living from land and sea -- conditions replicated worldwide. With power and poetry, it links the voice inextricably to the body.

Photographic work is from a photo-video project in which Bliss deconstructs bodily boundaries, forefronting the seamlessness between material realities and the continual flux of form and matter. Scenes of a man encased by, struggling with, and romancing the skin of another animal are filmed and then projected onto sculptural forms molded from rawhide (created by sculptor Rosalyn Driscoll). These projected images are then photographed. This continual transformation and the layering of permutations of flesh on flesh through flesh – dead and alive, flayed and intact – builds a world located somewhere between hallucinatory dream, piercing vision, and presumed reality. The work's shape-shifting insists on the closeness of the mystery ever-present behind the veil of physicality.

Sarah Bliss has a Masters in Theology from Harvard Divinity School. She has shown extensively in New England, the United States, and internationally, including most recently at Espaco Cultural ESPM in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the WORK Gallery in Detroit, and ArtJail in New York. Her work has been recognized by a 2013 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship in Sculpture/Installation.

Gallery hours M-F 9 am - 5 pm
More info: 401-863-2189,