Up Close from a Distance

UBC Okanagan Visual Arts Exhibition

Hosted by the UBCO Visual Arts Course Union (UBCOVACU))

Pip Mamo Dryden

Pip Mamo Dryden

     The home is the site of many of the most intimate moments of our lives. As suggested by Gaston Bachelard in his book The Poetics of Space, each area of our home is charged with memories, each room contains a different time. In this piece, I am examining one of the most intimate spaces in my memory: the dining room. 

     As someone who has suffered from anorexia nervosa from a young age, the dining room is the site of my fears, hatred, anger, and pain. These feelings are shared by many of those affected by eating disorders, insecurities about body image and anxieties brought about by diet culture. The dining room is also the place where families come together. Aside from just holding memories, homes are the sites of our relationships. My work examines the effects of anorexia and mental illness on the family. 

     At either end of a long, fractured table, two chairs sit, each functioning as a representation of a person. One is made of felted raw wool, shaped from something soft into something hard by the repeated violence of the felting needle. The other is cage-like, made out of chicken wire and barely visible. Between them stretch seven tables, each set with a tableau of tableware bound with thread and beads, rendering the objects unusable. In the center sits a large white cake under a glass dome. Making a cake for one you love is an act of care and celebration, but this cake is inedible, trapped under glass and growing mold. The slow decay of the cake is a marker of the time these two people have spent at this table, and functions as a symbol of their decaying relationship. The stark white colour scheme of this work emphasizes the objects and their materiality. To me, white is representative of the void, of silence, and of frozen things. In this piece, the two figures have been frozen at their dinner table, stuck in a silent, painful standoff. 

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