Bound by Patricia Ayres presents grandiose, bodily allusive sculptures which are simultaneously obtrusive and diminishing into themselves. The twelve works in the exhibition visibly bulge and restrict in accordance with the straps that bind and comprise them. This body of sculpture addresses a particular paradox of the human psyche—the need to assert a feeling of subjugation.
Originally trained in fashion design, Ayres is highly attuned to the forms that bodies take and how to implement tension upon them. The artist cites incarceration and the Catholic Church as two of the most powerful forces hindering bodies within our society. These oppressors manifest in the elastic binds, metal hooks, clasps, and hanging bands that restrict the shapes of Ayres’ sculptures, as if finally giving form to the weight or ache of anguish, fear and isolation—the traumatic conditions of persecution. As these sculptures stretch toward the heavens, their straps attempt to restrain; as the sculptures appear to kneel, their straps attempt to chain them to their prayer position.
The physical binds on Ayres’ sculptures are, ironically, what frees them from the metaphorical shackles of silencing that those who experience tyranny must endure. Wearing its heart on its sleeve, the work presented wears its oppression on its form. These sculptures have been laid bare; they expose their skin-colored, fleshy folds along with their emotional baggage. Bound fulfills the desire to make one's emotions and experiences able to be seen, discerned, and fully known in order to bond with the viewer.
While vulnerable, the work in Bound emerges victorious against the straps-as-metaphor that seek to restrict it. The feminine swells of the sculptural forms are built high to tower over the oserver. These works are unafraid to fill space with their hardships; they are unafraid to rise to the same scale as work that is unrestricted and imbued with societal associations of power. Ayres’ sculptures relish in having a more difficult existence—they want you to see their tumult, to know about it, and to finally share in their power and the space that they occupy.
Patricia Ayres (b. New York) attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She received an MFA from Hunter College, a BFA from Brooklyn College, and an A.A.S degree in Fashion Design from The Fashion Institute of Technology. Her work has been exhibited at Fragment Gallery, Moscow (2021); Matthew Brown Gallery, Los Angeles (2020); Kornfeld Gallery, Berlin (2020); Koenig & Clinton Gallery, New York (2019); and Liste Art Fair, Basel, Switzerland (forthcoming). She was an Artist-in-Residence at Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program (2019-2021). Lower Manhattan Cultural Center (2020), The Studios at MASS MoCA (2019), and Sculpture Space (forthcoming). Ayres was a recipient of the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Sculpture/Craft (2020).
Bound is the artist’s first solo exhibition at Matthew Brown and in Los Angeles.