Exhibition Archives

Personal Affects:
The Wishbone Project / The Pillow Project

June Ahrens

November 6 and continues through December 23, 1999

Provocative. That's the word that I hope comes to mind when people explain my work. I strive to create work that questions borders, unlocks stereotypes and stimulates thought.

photo of the Wishbone ProjectArtistically, I transform discarded objects to create a visual language that evokes the experiences of impermanence and loss, fragility and vulnerability, pain and most of all, healing and survival. This work has evolved from my experiences with the homeless and other marginalized communities.

Whether I use pieces of soap, dirty pillows, discarded furniture, latex or gauze, the tension between self and other is always present. The work is based on an awareness that tactile material, especially those with a previous life, can provide a visceral response. It is about isolating these materials to refocus the viewers' attention toward exploring and examining their own thoughts and feelings.

I feel I must step out of the comfort zone, out of the walls of my studio where I have some measure of control, to create individual pieces, installations or collaborations that involve other people. The involvement may be indirect because someone has given me materials, or direct, because others participate in my workshops to make objects that help form the whole.Photo of the Pillow Project

My hope is that the viewer can experience a connection, a recognition, a reawakening. I've been told that the response is unexpected, that it sneaks up on the viewer willing to look beyond the surface.

What is my attraction to everyday materials that people have used and would otherwise throw away? Why do I solicit the work of others? They come to me as gifts, as intimate extensions of their daily experiences. I then integrate these fragments, and somehow the imprint of each person, the exchange of feeling, thought and idea, becomes an unseen force in my work.

Multi-generation Collaborative

HCC's Early Childhood Laboratory School participated in a project in collaboration with senior citizens to create "wishbones" of their own.

ECLS students making wishbones

Student wishbones on exhibit