Amy Butowicz, Boudoir Theatre

19 Apr 2020 – 24 May 2020

Regular hours

12:00 – 19:00
12:00 – 19:00

Peninsula Art Space

New York
New York, United States


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Legs open to park grass

No mind to watchers, stories pass

Swollen cover

Advance a rousing fit



Palms split

Distended stress of button thread

Shine of cuffs and elbows spread

Rotating lovers pairing thumbs

Whistling to the fool’s plunge


Boudoir Theatre’s collection of intimate, domestically scaled sculptures stands together as a group of characters, both assertive and tender. The title of the show references the site of the Boudoir. From the French verb bouder, to sulk or pout, the Boudoir was the first private domestic space designated for women. Originally a space for women to retire, the 18th Century Boudoir became opulent, stuffed, and saturated with sexuality, both eroticizing and fetishizing female privacy. It was a site for the convergence of pleasure and power. In 1753 the architect Nicolas Le Camus described how design can arouse physical sensations and instructed the boudoir to have a day-bed. The Boudoir became a place for women to recline in a pose of submission.

The group of sculptures featured in Boudoir Theatre stands revealing and assertive, their figurative and anthropomorphic qualities playing with notions of sensuality. They own their sexuality and are ready to perform. Their posture subverting the historical tale of the woman succumbing to seduction. Some are split open, like a lady who has dropped her drawers, others have pinned up bottom skirts to reveal knobby knees, and many imply an invitation for the viewer to look up the skirt. Each sculpture comprises a wooden frame and is dressed in sewn canvas. The intricate grid pattern on the surface is tediously completed, each stitched by hand, the sewing a visual documentation of the artist’s time and space for meditation.

The color palette, reminiscent of a circus, with red, magenta, acid green, and bright blue, asks the viewer to look at the canvas as costume, but they can’t be ignored as paintings. These bodily canvas shapes are offset by minimalist plays with form and space. The canvas support structure acts as a stretcher and a frame, becoming the skeleton of the work. The works sand as part painting, part sculpture. The liveliness and play found through both color and form establishes their theatricality and asks the viewer to consider what is at the heart of their performance.

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