Many creators transform everyday objects into works of art. Martha Chason-Sokol’s “Listening Works” keeps these found objects close to home in an exhibition at Gallery 263 – the Everett, Mass.-based artist’s first solo exhibition, and a delight.
Tape is the only material Chason-Sokol buys for her pieces as she focuses on transforming trash into vibrant, energetic sculptures she calls both “characters” and “archives.” As she recycles discarded materials while giving them new life, there is a tension between the anthropomorphic and archival qualities of her work. In “Doll Face”, an old paint stool and worn shoes explode into a standing creature, supporting a cartoonish pair of legs. “When Pigs Fly” puts his family’s broken breadmaker on a pedestal of rocks – a cheeky memorial to a beloved kitchen appliance. Even as Chason-Sokol reveals the second life of her objects, she hides them in bright orange and pink duct tape.
Chason-Sokol’s process is reminiscent of that of artist Yuji Agematsu, a sculptor who scavenges debris from the streets of New York for his tiny sculptures. Chason-Sokol’s materials, however, come directly from her home, and while both artists contemplate consumption, Chason-Sokol’s observations are more personal. It does not focus on societal consumption, but on how much stuff a household can accumulate. It is a sort of sculptural album of the Chason-Sokol family. That’s what makes a life.
Chason-Sokol describes her artistic practice as “intuitive”, meaning that she does not plan the sculpture; instead, she communicates with her materials as she works and lets surprising themes emerge. In one piece, Chason-Sokol poured pill bottles into a structure she created and came up with a startling commentary on the pharmaceutical industry. In “Plumb Pink,” bright pink ribbon transformed discarded plumbing supplies into a curvaceous contemplation on femininity.
Chason-Sokol is a recent graduate of Lesley University’s MFA program, and she is making strides to publicly engage in her new artistic practice. She recently completed her group exhibition “Beyond Words” at Fountain Street Gallery in Boston’s SoWa Art + Design District. She is also president of the Everett Cultural Council and founder of Art Lab Everett, which offers affordable classes and workshops for city residents.
- “Listening Works” is on view until April 16 at gallery 263, 263 Pearl StreetCambridgeport.