Artists to provide mani-pedis at gallery talk

Jackie Wang

Instead of a formal gallery talk, the artists behind the current Center Space Project exhibition wanted to address visitors with something much more personal: manicures and pedicures.   

For the exhibition, titled “Your Pleasure,” three studio art graduate students are taking such services as manicures, pedicures and shoe-shines and implementing them as a performance piece. 

The three students, Annie Miller, Anne Rogers and Bryan Martello all work in different mediums: Martello works with photography, Miller is a painter, and Rogers is a sculptor. But they found enough commonality in their interests to put together a cohesive show about what taking pleasure in something can imply. On Wednesday, they will provide the three services for free in an interactive performance piece they named, “SALON de Your Pleasure.” 

“Manicures and pedicures are this intimate thing that you don’t get the opportunity of having when you’re talking about your work,” Miller said. “This seemed like an opportunity to facilitate a more intimate conversation.”

Rogers said she is interested in the intersection of sculpture and giving manicures, particularly incorporating the sense of touch. 

“Tactility is very important to my work so it seems appropriate to have physical contact with people interested in learning about the work,” Rogers said.

Rogers said each of her pieces in the exhibition were all laboriously made by hand.

“I’m interested in sort of meticulous craftsmanship that goes into a lot of work and laborious processes,” Rogers said. “I think what’s more interesting to me is in that process it’s just inescapable that it’s going to be wrought with imperfection.”

Rogers described the process of making one of her favorite piece in the show, “Caryatid,” as one that required repetitive motions and dedication. She wrapped the piece in multiple layers of acrylic tape and used a heat gun to smooth the surface. But another one of her works, titled “Vessel,” has garnered more interest from visitors.

“It’s this large papier-mâché bulbous form,” Rogers said. “That seems to be very popular. I don’t like that piece itself as much as ‘Caryatid,’ but it generated a lot of conversation. I like this social function of this piece.”

Connor Walden, one of the curatorial officers for the Center Space Project, said “Your Pleasure” is worth a visit — with or without manicures. 

“I have seen five shows now in Center Space,” Walden said. “‘Your Pleasure’ is definitely number one or two because I love how they activated all of the space but also how well the three artists could collaborate with both their styles and concepts with what they wanted the show to say.”

Martello said he would stick to mainly shoe-shining Wednesday. He likes the idea of working with Miller and Rogers in a medium in which they are all amateurs.

“We’ve been colleagues for a year now, and we all work in different mediums but we built a friendship in our similar ideas about work,” Martello said. “We’re interested in hopefully doing more shows in the future together.”

“SALON de Your Pleasure” will take place from 2-7 p.m. Wednesday. Scheduled appointments are preferred, but the artists will take walk-ins if time allows.