Entering New Realms at Shoebox Projects: Alice Marie Perreault and Kate Carvellas
At Shoebox Projects LA
September 16th, 2018
By Genie Davis
Shoebox Projects invited viewers into two very different, very beautiful worlds with exhibitions of All The Kings Men from Alice Marie Perreault and Kate Carvellas’ Reliquary for an Assemblage Artist in The Closet at Shoebox Projects presented by The Shed Collective.
Perreault, whose Residency closed Sept. 16th, created a beautiful, contemporary mixed media spin on an English fairy tale and it’s later iteration by Lewis Caroll in Alice Through the Looking Glass. The focus of the installation is Humpty Dumpty. The artist reshapes his story as one that depicts a reaction to the neglect she experiences in society for people who are the most dependent. Perreault combines her art materials with supplies for medical care-taking, emphasizing fragility as a means to strength. Using wood, plastic, metal, glass paint, oil pain, resin, rubber and egg shells, she re-shapes and reveals the importance of care-taking for one another and the true meaning of love.
Her’s is a world of caring, hope, and the egg-shell fragility of human life. “Many of the materials in the installation have been used in ways in which they were not originally meant to be used. And the narrative loops throughout the installation. We see Alice and Humpty in the acrylic and glass paint canvas. She has picked up the sword. Then we see that sword in an oil painting I painted on the stick of a broom/mop I made from suction tubing used in daily care-taking. Humpty’s broken shell body is made up of the shell fragments collected within the resin trays that I cast from Styrofoam beaker trays given to me from a stem cell research laboratory.” She adds “And the eggshells themselves are made from materials used to make blended meals for tube feedings. None of the details I use are unidentifiable objects. I do not melt them down to obscurity. It is their new arrangements with one another that makes them seem unusual,” Perreault attests.
The artist created an opened wall to fit across the entire gallery space with two passages, each 36″ wide. ‘This width provides optimal passage for individuals who use wheelchairs,” she notes. “I wanted two openings in the wall because I didn’t want to create a space where people were caught at the end and had to turn around,” she explains. She asserts that since her metaphor originates from a fairy tale of a character that sits on a wall and falls from that wall, she wanted to be sure to include the existing brick wall in the gallery space in her installation. “So, I activated it by sitting several small latex finger-cots filled with shattered egg shells across the top of it. It was an act of literally picking up the left-over pieces of egg shells that did not go into the cast resin research laboratory trays” in the exhibit, she relates.
Perreault attests that she was drawn to the concept of the exhibition after she became a mother for the first time and paid closer attention to the sometimes devastating nature of fairy tales.
“Rock-A-Bye-Baby is blown from a tree limb to the ground. Humpty Dumpty is left in pieces and abandoned,” she notes. “I started changing the endings to the tales as I rocked my infant whose brain was severely damaged at birth,” she says.
Intimate, beautiful, and deeply moving, Perreault touches on themes any mother can relate to, human mortality, and the enduring nature of the fairy tale in our lives. We may wish for “happy endings” but we are not close to finding them. In Perreault’s lovingly shaped, meticulously realized exhibition, she creates her own. The exhibit feels as if it is gestating, even as the viewer walks through it, due in part, at least, to the strength of Perreault’s passionate approach. Art can be change, and change was in the air, here.
In the diminutive exhibition space of The Closet in Shoebox Projects, Kate Carvellas offers her own world with Reliquary for an Assemblage Artist. Riffing on the dictionary definition of reliquary as a container or shrine in which sacred relics are kept, Carvellas presents a number of her own sacred relics, buoying the discarded or unused objects she often incorporates in her assemblage art.
Carvellas says “The exhibition was created with a lot of thought and intention. As an assemblage artist, I really do find beauty in things that other people might consider worthless. And I do hope to elevate them to a place of purpose and meaning that they would not otherwise have.” She views the exhibition, which feels like both a perfect miniature library of objects, and a portal to another realm in which such fantastical bits of flotsom carry their own heft and importance, “A place of sacredness.”
Perreault’s exhibition has closed, but it’s remarkable beauty and formidable message of love, empowerment, and a place – or realm – where human beings are not marginalized regardless of disability – leaves behind a strong, resonant statement. Expect to see other terrifically realized works from the artist.
Carvellas offers dimensional, frankly awe-inspiring mini-dioramas of her materials within The Closet. Her work has a magical quality that renders it quite special, and there is so much to take in that viewers may want to step inside this fantastical closet many times.
Viewers can step inside Carvellas’ mysterious and transformational portal/closet during the Brewery Artwalk October 13th and 14th and by appointment through the end of October.
Shoebox Projects is located at The Brewery Artist Lofts in DTLA.