SINAPSIS, BY COTTY OXENFORD
To judge of an artistic expression is not an easy thing. It is about judging the subjectivity of another within one's sensitivity. Therefore, the text is nothing more than an opinion of another opinion. And reading this is nothing more than the multiplication of that process. This is how this review should be read, because that is what the individual exhibition Sinapsis that takes place in OdA Espacio de Arte (Buenos Aires, Argentina) is all about.
In the first place, the exhibition is given in a very particular way. They make the public wait. Cotty Oxenford, the artist, tells us - while we wait - about the long journey that this project went over. It all started at Columbia University, she says, where she was doing a master's degree in Sociology. At that time, during the night she took Film Development and Photography classes at the New School University. Obsessed with photography and the possibilities that this medium brought her, back in Buenos Aires, Oxenford wanted to explore other horizons and started a drawing and painting clinic with Sofia Huidobro. Then she did photography at Di Tella University with Alberto Goldenstein and drawing with Eduardo Stupía –Sinapsis curator-, also at Di Tella. And in the middle of all that, the feathers appeared.
"I became obsessed with feathers", explains the artist, "her lightness, her flight. They would not let me sleep!"
Then, with a pair of headphones and a clear instruction - "walk it as you like the most" -, like feathers blown by the wind, we enter the exhibition space.
Oxenford's work is divided into three parts. The first -ordered according to my route-, consists of a series of photographs in different sizes that together create a huge constellation of moving feathers. The second, a television that reproduces a series of frames of a falling pink feather. The third is the most intimate: in a kind of living room, a photo series intervened with phrases, drawings and reflections questions the spectators directly. The last one I remember was a quote from Michel Ángelo Buonarroti: "Tell me, O God, if my eyes, really, see the true truth of beauty, or if beauty is in my mind, and my eyes see it everywhere I turn.”
Why did I remember that quote and not another one? I suppose because Sinapsis is that phrase. That idea. Oxenford's works are a record of the beauty that her imaginary found throughout that process. And in its most essential aspect, Art is about this: paraphrasing Cézzane, Herbert Read wrote in one of his books: " The artist, whether poet or painter or musician or potter, gives concrete form to sensations and perceptions; and what he manifests in colors, in words, in sounds, is precisely this form" (Art and Alienation - Herbert Read, P.28).
Perhaps, the exhibition is not relevant in political or technical terms. But it is from the sincerity that every artist must manifest. In the context of snobbery and falsehood in which a sector of contemporary art sails, Sinapsis and its feathers travel in the opposite direction. Wrapped in the cosmos that Oxenford produces, the spectator can meet her in the depths of her mind. The only problem is when you have to walk down Paraná Street, through Buenos Aires City: in the order of reality you are no longer comfortable.