Today’s post comes from the Renewal exhibit at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley City: Matthew Moore’s response to Suzanne Larson’s “Sonja Singing in the Tub.” You can see all the visual works and literary responses at the UCCC through April 25. Read our profile on Suzanne Larson in the December 2007 edition of 15 Bytes.
At first it is the lipstick on the placid pig that catches the eye. The sparse luxury of an ordinary bathroom dominates your senses before you recognize the simple serenity of a satisfied porcine. Soaking in pink-hued bath bubbles, themselves at once shining pearls and muted licentious candy, the bathing pig pampers itself. The pink walls are gilded with frivolity. While the bubble bath relaxes the happy subject, the bristles on the loofah brush tickle it, until ultimately the pig’s personality prevails.
She thinks not of stress from a long day, but rather about the joy of her present state. Clean hooves and clear mind. Next to a clamshell sink, her soft pink towel awaits. In a bathroom lit by two distal bulbs, one wonders what the shadows will look like on her face as she gazes into the mirror mirror on the wall. She will not see her reflection today though, she will only feel the effervescent bath water and see the moisture build as fog over a quiet room, “four legs or wings are friends,” she thinks. In a box with frosted glass, pink and ivory stand in contrast to the bright red lips of the bathing porcine.
In an eggshell tub, near a seashell sink, this porcine soaks. Such is the beauty of Sonja: pretty in pink with no future nor past, her memory holds true, relaxing in bath.
by Matthew Moore
UTAH’S ART MAGAZINE SINCE 2001, 15 Bytes is published by Artists of Utah, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Categories: Daily Bytes
Matthew captures the happy scene within the box very well, but what makes it more than just entertaining, in fact worth thinking about, is the window through which we gaze on Sonja. It’s clearly steamed up, and has been wiped clear to allow us to see in. We the audience are always voyeurs in art, but here we are expressly so. If we could talk about voyeurism, we would agree that what you get from peeking is never what you wanted. Or not JUST what you wanted. We may learn what others think of us, or that the victim’s life is more authentic than our own. And who wiped the glass? The voyeur, or Sonja? Does a soupcon of exhibitionism mean no guilt? Suzanne Larson has given us a morsel wrapped like a bonbon but containing a conundrum filling that we sink our mental teeth into at our peril. We may lose a filling here.