Walking into Yasmina Chavez’s Floss & Gravity exhibit at TastySpace Gallery is like entering a dreamlike dimension where the intensity of the moment is continuously looping, eternally suspended and eerily visceral.
Hanging from the ceiling are clay animal sculptures in falling positions, created by the artist by dipping stuffed animals into clay and then firing them, cremating the toy inside. On the wall plays a series of videos, each incongruously matched with audio, resulting in painful ironies. In one, a pigeon slowly dying in the grass twitches while a male narrator calls the breed a “miracle of creation,” a dubbing Chavez repeats rhythmically like a broken record.
A show of all things dying and ending that intentionally pushes the boundaries of comfort seems like it would be a dark swim in the macabre, but Floss & Gravity succeeds in offering a sense of peace, if not a focused whimsy over the perversion of life and the necessity of acceptance. Inspired by the story of a 60-year-old woman who leapt to her death from the Hoover Dam Bypass in 2012, Floss is the result of suicide, but it’s not about suicide. Instead it looks at control, powerlessness and acceptance, more specifically “senselessness and acceptance.”
And yet, with the videos titled “Grandma Suicide Vignettes” and the stuffed animal objects serving as vehicles of love, the emotional and imagined by-products of a woman that age taking her life can’t be ignored. “Suicide is one event where acceptance is tested,” Chavez says, referring to the woman’s leap from control to physical helplessness, which created a rippling effect on those directly and indirectly involved. “To me, acceptance is peace, whether good or bad. We are constantly forced to accept violent acts in order to find peace where justification does not exist.”
Thus, an exhibit balancing floss and gravity, where everything is gray, and “time works in circles, and answers are nonexistent.”
This the final Las Vegas exhibit (for now) by Chavez, who moved away this month to pursue her MFA at New York State’s Alfred University, following a series of back to back group projects and shows.
Floss & Gravity Through August 16; Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. TastySpace Gallery, 520 S. Fremont St., 617-513-7336.