Fibers Turn to Flesh in Ophelia Arc’s Haunting Sculptures
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post ran in 2022. We’re publishing this update in honor of our November 2023 exhibition, Down a Long, Dark Corridor, which includes work from Ophelia Arc.
Like carcasses hung from meat hooks, emerging artist Ophelia Arc’s fiber sculptures submit to the relentless tug of gravity as yarn mimics flesh falling from bone.
The multidisciplinary artist’s work incorporates new media—sound, video, and projection—to amplify sinewy fiber sculptures that resemble raw, open wounds. “I’m drawn towards dichotomies and the ways in which they can be dissected and psychoanalyzed,” she writes in her artist statement. “Common themes I like to explore are growth within rot, obsession within ritual, and the parasitic tendencies of symbiotic relationships.”
Drawn towards a tedious creation process, Ophelia relies on repetition to put her in a meditative state where she can process trauma and pacify ruminations on repeat. “I find myself drawn to methods which allow me to knead and rework traumatic experiences from my life,” Ophelia says. “My work is a methodical and ritualistic undertaking, as the labor behind each piece is one of mental distress and relief. Crochet becomes a way to lose myself in repetitive motion.”
In “my dearest amanda” (above), Ophelia stretches pink and brown yarn across a bulging chicken wire frame—a drooping sack of skin, bone, and viscera. Casting pinpricks of light on the nearest darkened wall, “my dearest amanda” morphs into two works: a broken body and its glimmering shadow, swaying together in time.
Eerily beautiful and surprisingly tender, Ophelia’s butcher shop of hanging sculptures evoke raw emotion as the artist conducts a brave investigation into the memories that “rot within one’s psyche.”
Scroll through to view Ophelia’s work, then head to our November 2023 exhibition, Down a Long, Dark Corridor, to see their submission, “my dearest amanda.”
“I find myself drawn to methods which allow me to knead and rework traumatic experiences from my life.” — Ophelia Arc
All photos published with permission of the artist(s).
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