A Review by student Chrissy B. from the blog ‘Studio Decisive Moments’ of ” Tenterhooks” an exhibition by Karley Klopfenstein and Anja Marais at St. Mary’s School of Maryland’s Boyden Gallery.

Kraken and the Sea, Dimensions Variable, Paper, glass, Sisal, Parchement, pigment, 2009-2010

“….The dual exhibition showcased the work of Anja Marais who is an artist from South Africa who works with sculpture and the theme of storytelling and life passages in her work. Although she currently resides and works in Florida, Marais has artwork and publications all over the country. As her biography states, “ Through an ancestral portal she examines the fragility of life by creating biosphere content that touches on themes of cyclical elements of fauna and flora, memories, genetics and life-death.” This is very true with Marais’ work that she presented in the exhibition, with sculptures of the human head and torso attached to strings and other fabric materials. One specific sculpture showed a man’s head upside down, attached at the neck by a tied rope hung off the ceiling. The sculpture is hand sewn and Marais explained how she sews on each small portion of fabric to make the surface of the sculpture actually resemble that of the human skin. This, as well as glass eyes bought from a taxidermist make the sculpture resemble the human forms of life and death; it’s on the edge of reality but also on the verge of unreal. When I spoke to Marais, she actually said that this was something she was trying to get across in her artwork. Behind this particular piece was a collage of the different pieces of numbered fabric, pasted onto a sheer cloth with hints of blue water-like shapes. When you stand back and look at the work, it looks like a person submerging themselves into the water; its abstraction and beauty really do contradict each other, but give it almost a sort of nostalgic feeling. …” ~ Chrissy B