‘Bodywaves’ exhibition explores human vulnerability, body imperfection

‘Bodywaves’ exhibition explores human vulnerability, body imperfection
One of Denise Marika’s popular art pieces at her “Bodywaves” exhibition which focuses on the human condition and the individual vulnerability of a person. / Photo by Audrey Cahyadi

By Audrey Cahyadi, news correspondent

Located in the South End’s Howard Yezerski Gallery, Denise Marika’s highly anticipated “Bodywaves” exhibition focuses on the human condition and the individual vulnerability of a person.

Through a number of mediums, including print photography, video projection and layering and etching of plexiglass, Marika successfully catches the eyes of many art lovers and students from the Greater Boston area.

Marika’s pieces are mounted all around the minimalistic gallery, creating a mix of warm and cool colors. Upon entering, the first thing visitors see is a set of large print photographs of Marika’s flawed body, purposefully showcasing her stretch marks and wrinkles. On a Friday in early February, each visitor paused in front of one of the pieces when they entered, either entranced or in shock of the imperfect details that she willingly displayed.

“I’ve been following her work for many years now and wanted to see what her latest work is,” said Linda Burnett, an exhibition visitor and a friend of Marika. “The more I look at the artwork, the more I like it.”

Denise Marika uses a combination of images and the soundwaves of specific audio to create her unique pieces. / Photo by Audrey Cahyadi

It took months of experimentation for Marika to decide how she wanted to represent the focus of her newest art pieces. She used a combination of images, video and audio to explore new forms of artwork that would eventually lead her to the creation of “Bodywaves.” Though it isn’t new for her to use audio and images to create her pieces, this is the first time Marika morphed them together to create a powerful message about the human body.

“Her work has always been rooted in video and video sculpture,” said Tom Fahey, Marika’s technical assistant. “But she was looking to explore new ideas and experimentation. She wanted to try still images and audio, then she wanted to find a way to fuse it together and display it in the best way possible.”

Fahey further explained that Marika was trying to find the best way for her pieces to display both the human condition and self-identity — the crossover of life and experience. She did this by using old images and videos of her taken throughout the years and meshing them together with sound waves from the audio of a documentary she shot in Nepal.

In many ways, Marika’s exhibition pushes the boundaries of regular photography and videography. Visitors were immersed in her pieces. One particular piece that stood out from the rest was a video of Marika’s body simply inhaling and exhaling, which was projected against a piece of wrinkled black paper. Many visitors stood around the projection that was mounted to the floor, mesmerized by the movements and detail.

“I think these are really rich images, as if I can spend a lot of time just watching them,” said Sally James, an exhibit visitor. “I think there’s an emotional depth with the body and what it shows in these pieces.”

“Bodywaves” is open to visitors in the Howard Yezerski Gallery until March 6. Marika will visit the gallery for an artist talk on Feb. 24 from 3 to 5 p.m.

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