Artist: Sage Garver
Media: Sculpture (polyurethane and foam)
Gallery: Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery
Website: None at this time
Instagram: None at this time
About the Artist
Sage Garver is an Undergraduate student at CSULB, in the School of Arts Sculpture Program. Outside of her art, Sage enjoys baking, hiking, and traveling.
BIO is an entire gallery with no individual pieces. All four walls of the Dutzi Gallery are covered in different massively enlarged biological systems, organisms, and cells. These sculptures are made out of polyurethane and foam, stuck to the wall with joint compound and nails, and smoothed over (blended into the wall) with more joint compound and white paint.
The room’s center piece is made of gold-painted chains. Sage told me that the gold chains are meant to symbolize the human body’s digestive system; how whatever one eats is highly important for the body, just like how gold is associated with importance. At the end of the chain is a plastic fork also painted in gold, furthering the digestive system metaphor.
At the top of the gold chain is a ball-like structure made of wire and iridescent plastic film. Sage told me that it has no real metaphorical purpose, etc.; she only thought it looked cool. However, she did say that it can kind of be seen as the unifying element of the exhibition, with some even calling it a nucleus.
According to her artist statement posted in the gallery, BIO is an autobiographical piece. It was inspired by the illnesses she has experienced throughout her life, which kept her in the hospital for quite some time. These illnesses restricted all aspects of her life, from “everyday activities to the kinds of food [she] eats.” BIO uses biological forms and systems, integrated into the gallery’s architecture, to “heighten the physical and sensorial experience of the viewer in relation to the space they are in. The surface of the gallery walls are like the surface of a body, patterns and symptoms are emerging from its clinically white neutrality. In the logic of this work systems are integrated and the distributions of one element or surface can lead to the whole system being compromised.” In another sense, the biological forms are as large as they are in order to make the viewer feel their gravity and heavy effect on the body–just how “big” of a deal they are to the body.
At first it was hard for me to really understand BIO. But after I left the gallery, mulled it over, and came back to it and reread the artist statement a couple more times, I began to get into it more and more. As mentioned in the Content Analysis, BIO shows how the body can suddenly become infected and totally overtaken by the virus, and just how big of a deal that is. I think it is very brave (and smart) of Sage to use something that was such a serious and difficult part of her life as inspiration for her exhibition. I am also impressed by how well the sculptures are integrated into the walls of the gallery; the paint and smoothing-over is near flawless.