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July 29, 2014

The sensuous forms of mermaids and figureheads inspire Amy Kandall’s recent clay sculptures: these are the desired female bodies of the shore and open seas. In the body of the mermaid, warm human flesh meets cool fishy scales; she is a monstrous hybrid, born of breeched species’ boundaries. Her place is the shoreline, where dry land meets the sea: the place of seaweed, mud, rocks and shellfish, both fertile site of life and marginal wasteland. Tales of mermaids include the lure of the seductive siren’s song, and the abducted mermaid or selkie who becomes wife to a fisherman, only to find her hidden seal’s skin and then slip below the waves, never to return.

amy mermaid

Mer/maid, sea/woman: floating in the salty, amniotic brine, sensual beast, fatally devouring siren. Figurehead: partial woman facing the sea on the prow of a wooden ship full of lonely men, savage men too long at sea, too full of longing.

2 merms


Mer/mère: ocean/ mother:  Mermaid colonies, families, pods or schools.  Mother and daughter sirens.

Yet made of clay. Earth. A shift in element for these maritime creatures. Some surfaces revealing this origin, others slippery with glaze: glassy silica, moist liquid stone.

Her show opens August 1 at the Patty Deluca Gallery in Provincetown.


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