Liza Sylvestre's sensual investigations at Public Functionary


You’ll want to eat the artworks in “Meridians,” Liza Sylvestre's scrumptious new show at Public Functionary. At once rich and delicate, the pieces convey a feeling of floating, of being held together in some secret, intricate way. There’s a kind of science to these works, deeply rooted in a bodily, instinctual sense.

Echos of Georgia O’Keeffe's work can be seen in these pieces as well. Just to be clear: O’Keeffe always denied the Freudian interpretations of her work. However, even with that bit of information, it can be difficult, perhaps because those interpretations are still so closely tied into her legacy, to look at her irises, for example, and not see vaginas. A similar experience happens when viewing “Meridians.” Even if you don’t see female organs specifically, there’s certainly a sense of the body, of veins and tissue. Not in an ugly or gross way, but in a delicate, beautiful sense. (We won’t call it feminine, for fear of being too essentialist.) 

Like O’Keeffe, Sylvestre appears to find inspiration from natural sources: the ground, the earth, plants, trees, and landscapes. You can decide for yourself if you see the ocean, or imagine a walk through the forest as you drink in these works. Pieces are gently lit by individual hanging light bulbs, which adds a sense of ceremonial solemnity to the show.

Sylvestre's blend of fluid color and intricate, dense line work offer a rich, sensorial experience. You can almost smell these pieces, if not taste them. You’ll want to wrap them around yourself, or at least enter inside them to get a look around.

The works come in different sizes and shapes. The ink-and-acrylic pieces are nice and small, and priced moderately enough to tempt you into snapping one up ('tis the season, after all). Alas, many of them have already been sold. The “Meridian” series fit Sylvestre’s sense of movement and flow with amoeba-like shapes. It’s the larger, rectangular works, though, that are the most stunning. Moments Come to Greet Us, I Open and Close, and A Moon in My Mouth envelop the viewer. Once you sneak inside their mysterious depths, you’ll never want to leave.



"Liza Sylvestre: Meridians"

Through January 9

Public Functionary

1400 12th Ave. NE, Minneapolis

Hours: 4-8 p.m. Tue.; noon to 4 p.m. Wed.; noon to 8 p.m. Fri.; 7-11 p.m. Sat.