Easy Chair/Failed Odalisque
Bobbi Meier, September 2017
Sandi, the sweetest woman alive, is looking for a chaise lounge for me. She knows I want one because I have this crazy idea to create a soft-sculptural abstraction of an odalisque emerging from this specific type of hybrid furniture. This is an easy task for my friend because she works in the business of downsizing seniors, helping them part with extraneous objects and furniture. Sandi does find the chaise for me, as she struggles to take a short walk in her neighborhood. She is on chemotherapy to stop the ravages of a rare protein disorder.
The object, covered in lime green cotton upholstery, sits in my studio for months, acting as a daybed for my miniature poodle, Dixie. Finally after several attempts at sketching my desired result, I begin. I undo the exterior skin to reveal the internal construction, an assemblage of soft and hard materials. It is like a body, an odalisque, and becomes the foil for my sadness and frustration over my dear friend’s illness and our inept medical system. I learn how to tuft, to transform the structure into struggling human forms of bulbous shapes emerging from its original purpose to provide comfort. Deeply black shiny spandex stretched over amorphous forms produce unnatural distorted protrusions. Stretching, pulling, impaling the object, it is transformed into a new hybrid of comfort and discomfort, simultaneously falling apart and exuding strength. Precarious and awkwardly constructed it elicits messages of hope and hopelessness.