Art is stimulating, and not just visually | Arts & Culture
Let your nose guide you to an experience about how art can be more than just visually stimulating with a special one-night-only show entitled Scratch and Sniff: Art Smells Good to be featured at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center in Oxford.
The multi sensory show featuring the works of artist, and visiting professor of art at the University of Mississippi, Katherine Rhodes Fields showcases a new series of works. The works break traditional exhibit rules by asking visitors to not only touch the art, but scratch the art, which releases scents associated with each work. The series was presented for the first time at the Good Citizen Gallery in St. Louis to record crowds.
Scratch and Sniff is an ongoing series of print works that follows a direction Fields started with in her series Finger Lickin’ Good, in which she used chicken fat as a print medium. The chicken fat resulted in a transparency in the paper allowing the viewer to see the images (1970’s nude centerfolds) printed on the other side. The chicken fat, once recognized, also resulted in many viewers approach to the work with not just their eyes, but their nose as well. From these observations, Fields generated the ideas for Scratch and Sniff, which would intensify the moment of synesthesia, the stimulation of one sense that leads to a reflexive experience with or stimulation of a second sense, for the viewers.
Fields’ choice of nude centerfolds is very deliberate retaining the staple marks and folds of the centerfold in her images that she selected from Playboy magazine centerfolds from the 1960s and 1970s. The body types, shapes and poses in the centerfolds highlight Ms. Fields’ view that these where real women exposing both their beauty and flaws drawing out their suggestive nature of the poses in what appears at first to be witty one-liners: prints of centerfold nudes surrounded by luscious, suggestive foods, with giant "scratch and sniff" circles strategically placed on their naughty parts. There's "MS Sticky Buns" swimming in a sea of cinnamon rolls, a brown-sugar sniff circle on her bum; "MS Sour Puss" wallows in lemon wedges; "MS Cheri" is nearly buried in cherry pie. They're beautifully composed, full of amusing visual and verbal puns, and the scratch and sniff scents are right on target. But if you consider them casually, you only scratched the surface, and risk missing other layers of meaning they offer up.
Fields’s Scratch and Sniff: Art Smells Good artist reception will be Tuesday, September 27 from 6-7 p.m. at the Powerhouse and will follow-up with Oxford’s monthly Art Crawl from 7-9 p.m. The Art Crawl is a free and open to the public event that includes four art gallery locations open on one night and has transportation provided by the Double Decker bus. Bus stop and pick ups are continuous between each location from 7-9 p.m. at each art venue: Southside Gallery, the Powerhouse, University of Mississippi Museum, and Gallery 130. Catering for this month’s artist receptions are hosted by Cathead Vodka, Coors Beer, Old Venice Pizza Cafe and Party Waiting to Happen.
For more information, please contact the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council at 662-236-6429 or online at www.oxfordarts.com.
Information provided by the Powerhouse Community Arts Center.