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Ilana Harris-Babou
Studio Sounds
January 3 - February 2, 2014

Studio Sounds presents a combination of video projection and still artifacts in order to document the artist’s exploration of tactility in paint and in music videos. Popular song lyrics are used as a catalyst for new color worlds or material decisions: the term “ice cream paint-job,” for example, will be taken literally in an attempt to capture all of the sweetness, stickiness, and congealed dust that comes with smearing strawberry soft-serve on a sheet of plexi-glass. The treatment of surface in the work is alchemical, turning awkward mass into luminous gold. Framed by the angle of the lens, a pile of pink play-dough becomes a mountain. With studio lighting, a puddle of latex paint adopts the depth of a lake – or the sheen of a polished marble foyer.

The video presents a character made from the materials of the studio, the focus of the lens, and the painterly metaphors of rap lyrics. She is an obscured “video vixen,” caught in the act of building the set surrounding her. Her studio is one stage upon which she can melt her own violent or tender experience of content and rhythm. She scratches this itch so hard that she peels back the synthetic skin of the image – only to find another layer of vinyl or Formica beneath it. In a moment of weakness she eats the ice cream she intended to paint with. A jug of acrylic paint slips from her hands and spills. She reaches for it, in a power grab.

The work on display attempts to elucidate the nature of this power. Is it hidden within the fleeting declarations of the music, or the inarticulate space of material interactions?

Ilana Harris-Babou is an interdisciplinary artist from Brooklyn, NY. She recently graduated from Yale University with a BA in Art with distinction in the major. She has attended the Yale School of Art at Norfolk, CT, and received several honors for her work. Awards include the Mary Hotchkiss Williams Travel Fellowship from the Yale University Art Gallery, the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship, and the Yale Presidential Public Service Fellowship.
She is currently based in Hartford, CT where she works as a fellow in the Studio Art department at Trinity College.