Rabbithole is pleased to present Pleasure Victim, a two person exhibition of the artists Nancy Susan Woods and Shannon Finnegan. Pleasure Victim investigates the psychological negotiations we make with ourselves and with society, the goal being to achieve an improved physical or emotional state. The drawings and photographic portraits generated by Woods and Finnegan’s respective processes are imprints of actions that embody the escapist impulses we experience in our routine existence, and the inherent guilt felt when we fail to create value in our lives.
Questions concerning self-identity are prominent in post-traditional cultures. When social order is no longer as prescribed as it once was, individuals must contrive social roles for themselves. A contemporary remedy for the alienation experienced in this struggle is dedication to betterment of our self through total integration of body and mind, work and non-work, in both our public and private domains. This emphasis on psychological transformation leads some to hire Life Coaches, who may aid in the identification and achievement of personal goals. Woods and Finnegan share a mutual interest in the Life Coaching field: Woods has employed a number of Life Coaches, while Finnegan has professionally worked as one. These experiences influence their approaches toward art making.
Woods assumes the role of therapist-healer for participants in her performances, mining her own experiences receiving guidance. Her approach aims to break down the invisible, cultural barriers between participants and their uninhibited selves, as well as the distance between viewers and art. During the opening reception, Woods will select participants to manipulate a 4’x6’ wall by punching, kicking, gouging, etc., for her piece “I’m Your Bitch”. Woods will apply paint to the wall and make a print for the participant, a memento of their briefly liberated self. Also on display is a slideshow of photographic portraits and audio documentation from Woods’s recent project “The Piano is actually a percussion instrument”. Participants were invited to destroy a Wurlitzer piano, while Woods recorded them.
Finnegan endures mind-numbing repetition and routine for her work, in which she explores the significance and vacuity inherent in all human activity. In essence, she turns herself into a subject in need of guidance. Finnegan’s approach to artmaking places her in a limbo where she oscillates between contradictory beliefs, a process through which she attempts to reach an affirmation. Similar to the whimsical child’s game, “he loves me, he loves me not”, Finnegan carefully draws repetitious marks or writes two inverted sentences for the temporal parameter of 8 hours, a standard “workday.” For the closing reception Finnegan will give a special 8 hour performance, during which she will produce countless drawings that attendees may take away with them.
Special thanks to Richard Lurie of Kitsune Media for documenting the Opening Reception and Nancy Wood's interactive performance work, "I'm Your Bitch".