E.V. Day and Kembra Pfahler have collaborated on a series of photographs in the French gardens of Claude Monet‘s Giverny estate, displaying the project within a thorough installation simulacrum thereof at The Hole Gallery in New York City. A pebble walkway through tulips and trees, around a lilly-padded pond complete with Monet’s famous Japanese bridge, guided the likes of Jeffrey Deitch, Terence Koh, Spencer Sweeney, Aurel Schmidt, and gallerist Kathy Grayson, among a full house Friday night. A clothed Pfahler—of the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black (see video)—had an unclothed red ‘Femlin’ in tow, the artist’s strong feminist creature originally inspired by a character of Playboy.com, which happened to fund the entire exhibition.
The New York based artist E.V. Day won the Munn Artists Residency in 2010, awarded by the Versailles Foundation, granting access to Monet’s Giverny estate and all its manicured gardens. Day invited Pfahler to the French hideaway in the heat of August, “the most fecund, riotous month,” exploring the gardens through Pfahler’s radical feminist approach. A seeming juxtaposition of “anti-natural,” death-metal energy against the green environment, the gardens are meticulously maintained under the late Monet’s strict arrangements, creating an enveloping sculpture for Day’s photographic capture. Says the press release, “Mimicking the inverted world of the pond’s surface reflections, she bifurcates, splays and refracts her images. Shooting in both the Clos Normand and the Japanese water garden, these artworks complexify the position of objectifier and objectified and explore voyeurism and power. In the same way that Kembra mixes sex and power, beauty and horror, the works hint at the possibility of a bizarre and titillating new sexuality.”
Pfahler blends musical pursuits as the lead singer of The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black with performance and other artistic mediums, and has been featured in the 2008 Whitney Biennial; The Palais Des Beaux Arts, Brussels; the MACRO Museum in Rome; and the Garage Center for Contemporary Art in Moscow; with solo shows at Contemporary Fine Arts and Deitch Projects. Both artists working with themes of feminism and sexuality, Day was included in the 2000 Whitney Biennial, with a solo show in 2011 at the Whitney Museum at Altria, and a 2004 ten-year survey at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University.