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Wendy Mike | Embody: Offerings of a Dimensional Soul
Artist Wendy Mike is known for working with a variety of mediums, creating site-specific community-based art projects and installations designed to broaden perception. Her installation in the Plaza of the Rockies marks a new foray into large-scale installation in public spaces.
Embody: to be an expression of or give a tangible or visible form to an idea, quality or feeling; to provide a spirit with a physical form; to include or contain (something) as a physical part.
The long tradition of human representation in art reveals humanity's fascination with itself. Is this preoccupation narcissistic? Are we striving to further understand ourselves, or even the Divine: the unfathomable soul that we recognize in our own proportions?
By offering illuminations of the body in motion, I hope to share an experience of profound beauty captured in something as fleeting as a gesture; the barest breath of form sculpted nearly from the atmosphere it occupies, infused with light, a moment of presence: a fitting vehicle for the soul...
The suspended life-size works herein are composed of plastic; a lowly material is exalted (and redeemed) to the lofty role of defining the human form. Unlike the permanence of bronze or stone, the ephemeral and disposable qualities of plastic become essential: mundanity becomes transcendent. The curves of the body are created through layering and repetition. Spiraling round and round, the uneven volumes are embraced; the form is coaxed into existence.
Models chosen for this exhibit embody the practice of various physical (and by extension, spiritual) disciplines, and range in age from 18 to 82. Without identifiers of hair and skin, what remains is the ageless essence of the individual. Their disciplines require repetition and focus, integral to both mastery in any endeavor and to being present in the moment. It is said that in this "presence" we may commune with the Divine, perhaps apprehending an instant of utter completion.
Are the body and soul distinct from of one another or is such division meaningless? Through the body a unique wisdom is expressed, the perception of which is not so much a function of understanding, but of listening.
Primarily a visual artist, Wendy Mike has also been a dancer, singer, actor, author and entrepreneur. She studied figure drawing at the Art Students League in New York City and received a BFA in painting from the Hunter College of the City University of New York. Mike's collaboration with artists from the political action group Woman's Action Coalition (WAC) on a large-scale summer-long installation in the anchorage of the Brooklyn Bridge (Art in the Anchorage) sparked her interest in site-specific installation and art as activism.
In Colorado Springs, Wendy Mike founded the non-profit "FutureSelf: Youth Discovering Success Through Art" serving youth at-risk with life-changing art-based programs. She was the organization's executive director for eight years.
She had facilitated art programs and workshops nationwide for many people from youth to corporate executives. Her article, "Visual Vocabulary: How What You See Has A Say In Who You Be" was published in the 2011 journal of the Conference for Global Transformation. Mike was nominated for the 2013 TEDprize for her vision of how the Arts create a world that works for everyone.
Thank you to the Plaza of the Rockies for assistance and support in realizing this installation!