In exploring his individual responsibility to treat women well, Wells artist Connor Kenney has created an interesting show at the Station House this month titled The Woman Inside the Man.
The centre piece in the upstairs gallery is a sculpture featuring abstract human figures created out of simple packing tape emerging from paper wrappings.
In creating the sculpture Kenney studied psychologist Carl Jung’s concept of anima.
“The Women Inside the Man is to bring a physical form of the four anima phases into a public domain to help develop the male half of society’s collective unconscious,” Kenney explains in his artist’s statement.
“Because the world is transitioning into a more feminine driven economy from a traditionally male only environment, men are being relieved of certain gender roles. Although this process has been a struggle, I believe by unlocking the anima in men’s collective unconscious they will be able to adapt to the changing world.”
As a financially struggling artist Kenney says he started using packing tape in his sculptures because it was affordable.
“It’s definitely my most comfortable material,” Kenney says. “It all started for economic reasons as the cheapest material per square inch of surface that I could find.”
For conceptual reasons he continues to use packing tape as a sculptural material.
“I love the idea of transparency from the personal to the government level,” Kenney says. “I’ts something we demand from others but don’t necessarily give it ourselves.”
Eight people were involved in developing the sculptures either as subjects around which the tape was wrapped to create the forms or in helping to place and manage the sticky material.
When he first started using packing tape he says he ruined a lot of good clothing by putting the first wrapping sticky side down on the body.
But he soon learned to put the sticky side up on the first wrapping so the translucent figures could be removed from the model’s body more easily.
He says the translucent quality of the sculptures also represents what he calls the invisible backpack people carry when they are discriminated against.
“When I meet someone I realize I am not seeing all of their pain and joy and people can’t see all of me,” Kenney says. “It is a way for me to realize that there is a lot more going on than we can see.”
He continues: “I believe men aren’t born they are created. For me that turns into feminism.”
Kenney holds a bachelor of arts in applied visual communication and is working on a second bachelor of fine arts in painting through Concordia University.
He lives in Wells and works at Barkerville and before that for Island Mountain Arts.