I wore a hat every day through eighth and ninth grade. It caught people’s eyes, and I could hide beneath it.
Jodi Colella’s show at Boston Sculptors Gallery brought my hat to mind. Colella uses her skills as a textile artist to delineate the choking fog of social convention on women and girls. In “Call Me Rose,” part of her “Headware Construction” series, she fashions a red blossom from old dresses and the like, to be worn as a mask.
These pieces address the fashion industry’s contradictions: how a single garment — think of a stiletto heel — can at once empower and entrap its wearer.
We all want to hide and to be seen. How we deal with that tension depends on our history and personality, and on the conditions society throws at us. A series of sculptures titled “Mary Janes” features ceramic figurines of girls engulfed in painstakingly crafted fabric balls. In “Pink,” all but a pink skirt over red shoes is bound up in a woolly brown ball, manifesting a burden of expectations.
Identity is transmitted through many filters. Dennis Svoronos, who also has a show at Boston Sculptors, gets intimately transparent with self-portraiture, but it’s always delivered through a technological filter, and so, somehow, disembodied.
Svoronos, who has been living with brain cancer for years, invites viewers into his cranium with works that chart his brain activity over a 24-hour period, such as “Hours of Ours,” which translates brainwaves into patterns of brilliantly colored shards, and “Sheet Music Generating Helmet,” which turns them into notation for cello.
Other works critique our reliance on cameras for self-expression. An eye gazes at the viewer from a painting in “@ObjectforAdoration” as a camera within snaps shots and tweets them, along with text — “I would be lost without you.”
Svoronos and Colella’s work attests that it’s hard to find one’s self in the midst of all the refraction and noise. Indeed, it’s almost as if there is no solid self at all. There are only the veils and filters that capture a projection.
JODI COLELLA: FACULTY OF UTTERANCE
DENNIS SVORONOS: PROOF OF LIFE
At Boston Sculptors Gallery, 486 Harrison Ave., through Sept. 20. 617-482-7781, www.bostonsculptors.com