empathy

Rise Up: That Chair Behind You Is A Comfy Shackle

Mothers and daughters often do not see eye-to-eye, much less work well together. The art duo of Gayle Wells Mandle and Julia Mandle are an exception. Their show recently opened at Leila Heller Gallery shows that they are not only comfortable working together, but that they both aspire to the same goal for the greater good.

Walking into this exhibition a little later in the evening than I had initially expected to arrive, my entrance went unnoticed by most of the attending art crowd. Milling about socially in their tight fitting designer evening dresses and trim black suits, the calm atmosphere shows that these viewers have no intentions of recognizing the startlingly initiative art they casually circle. If they had, they might have been wincing and backing away in fear. This opening only pretends to be a social cocktail hour. For the artists, this is a call for revolution.

Julia and Gayle Wells Mandle know that it is time for change. They also know that real change only comes from broad scale action. To incite this they have chosen to utilize an object that everyone can relate to:

The chair.

What can be said about chairs? From the beginning of the dawn of time, it has been important to have somewhere to rest your ass. It has only come into relevance in recent human history that a person could provide for others doing work that was not in the large part physical. Before the time of information and commerce being based on the transference of and implementation of ideas, everything that was valued as a labor meriting a reward had to do with physical labor.

After a long day breaking rocks, digging in a field, or traveling long distances to hunt for food, sitting your tired ass down on the same ground where you put your piss and shit is simply not going to cut it. So, humans invented elevated places to put their weary asses for the in-between time when work is over, but it is not yet time to go to sleep.

These chairs have become something of a regularity in our lives, something of a comfort. Infants probably stand on their own for the first time with the supportive help of a chair, we give beginners young and old a chair to use as a crutch when they lace up some ice skates for the first time. The examples are endless. Chairs are so deeply a part of our human history that no one even dreams of imagining why we should have a world without them. Until now. 

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