On Wednesday last week, Sonya Kelliher-Combs arrived from Alaska just as it started to snow. Thursday, the tri-state area was hit with a major snow-storm prompting early dismissals for staff at the museum. On Friday, in the town where I live in New Jersey, we awoke to 18 inches and a snow-day for local schools. But, Sonya and the installation of her work in HIDE did not stop for sleet, snow, or perilous slushy ponds on the streets of New York! Sonya has been working in the gallery every day since Thursday, meticulously hammering threaded needles into a large, site-specific installation titled, Shedding Skin.
HIDE: Skin as Material and Metaphor is the next contemporary art exhibition in New York and will be in two parts. Solo installations by Nadia Myre and Sonya Kelliher-Combs are in part 1, which opens this week. Part 2 will open in the fall with a solo installation by Michael Belmore, and work by five photographers: KC Adams, Terrance Houle, Rosalie Favell, Arthur Renwick and Sarah Sense.
Sonya hammers, Maria McWilliams (GGHC Collections Mgr) threads, and a detail of a new Walrus Family Portrait.
Followers of Kelliher-Combs are probably most familiar with her work with organic material such as raw-hide and walrus stomach, but she has also created several works with thread, such as Unraveled Secrets (2006). Shedding Skin is composed of thousands of needles and varying skin-colored shades of thread which create a complex and meandering path around a monolithic wall constructed in the gallery. The lines represent family and heritage as they seem to mark time, sometimes breaking abruptly while other lines will end in a heap of thread.
Sonya Kelliher-Combs will be giving a public presentation on Saturday, March 6th, at noon, in the Diker Pavilion. It will give viewers an introduction to her work and influences, both cultural and personal, and as well as insight into works created for this exhibition. It's not to be missed!
Needles, needles, needles; a detail of Common Thread (reindeer & sheep rawhide); GGHC's sloppy snow.