Step of Two is a duet that is in and out of sync between artists Emily Mast and Henna Vainio. The two artists, who work in very different mediums, video and sculpture respectively, find idiosyncratic overlaps in their choice of materials and content. Both bodies of work are informed by taxonomies and color, and combine abstraction or live use of the body with everyday found materials such as: cardboard, fruit peels, lemons, baguettes, straight pins, gloves, and lip gloss.
Emily Mast’s project, ENDE (Like A New Beginning) deconstructs meaning and memory with a kind of personalized form of eurythmy. She uses momentary written or spoken phrases collected throughout her daily life as the directive for movements. Once a movement is attached to a phrase, it is given a name, performed and put into a score. The movement changes and mutates based off of the circumstances, akin to a memory, relying on what other memories precede and follow it. As the artist states, ENDE (Like A New Beginning) explores “the underlying complexities of language, translation, memory and miscommunication, it confronts the profoundness of the seemingly mundane and uses repetition and familiarity to incite instants of human connection.”
Henna Vainio’s plaster casts and glass-fused panes operate like punctuation––physical manifestations of the hard stops, breaths, pauses, and exclamations, the periods, commas, em dashes and other marks afford the written word. For Vainio, “the act of sculptural casting becomes theatrical casting and makes these things––objects––have an agency of their own.” Divorced from words punctuation loses meaning, and becomes abstracted and empowered. Similarly, Vainio’s work, primarily casts of other objects, deals in negative space and defines the things it is surrounded by––namely the texture of the objects she casts. The elements of each sculpture connect forms, dictated by materials with sources that remain as referent, akin to spaces and punctuation marks between words.
Both artists in Step of Two expand our understanding of language, color, material objects, and the body, as experiences that are meant to evolve, transmute, cohere, fade away, and rebuild. When their works are set together as a duet––Mast’s video work, which so prominently features bodies interacting with objects, and Vainio’s sculptures with imprints of everyday objects, sag and contort as bodies do––the gallery operates as a stage with all the artworks acting as props and actors concurrently.