Knife Kiss by Mary Beth Heffernan
Artist’s Reception Wednesday, September 8, 2004
Mary Beth Heffernan’s work combines photography, video installation, sculpture and writing to explore the physical world and its relation to images, words and other representations. Recently an artist-in-residence at the country’s oldest cutlery manufacturer, Lamson & Goodnow, Heffernan produced a series of video and sculpture installations, photographs and writings entitled, Knife.
The PCC exhibition Knife Kiss will feature video, sound and sculpture installations and drawings that explore the conditions of intimacy, naming, and subjectivity. Combining the scientific imaging technologies of the scanning electron microscope or spectral envelope speech imaging with ordinary tools from the domestic sphere, Heffernan explores feminine desire in relation to the institutions of marriage, science, and law.
In the video installation Knife Kiss Heffernan collaborates with composer Bruno Louchouarn to combine a scanning electron microscope view closing in on a knife’s edge with waves of fragmented voices that hail the viewer. In Bolduc Heffernan translates a digital 3-D graph of her maiden name into a room-sized graph comprised of hundreds of tableware knives, likening the lost utterance to a multitude of glistening cuts. Conjuring the labor of the domestic sphere with the mastery of scientific imaging, the exhibition “Knife Kiss” suggests both sensuousness and the fragmentary nature of feminine subjectivity.
Mary Beth Heffernan is Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Photography in the Art History and Visual Arts Department at Occidental College.