PUDDLE POPPER slips through realities towards our desires, passing between description, invention and idealisation to wiggle around truths. Merging forms, Puddle Popper creates a set-like world featuring invented beings, humanoids, tentacles and unreadable text. Appendages transform. Colour is revised. Portals open up, limbs are put part way through, and then all the way through, and new bodies are observed and created.
Puddle Popper is an artist collective formed in 2015 in Vancouver by artists Sarah Davidson, Juli Majer, Sonja Ratkay and Mel Thibodeau. Through interactive sculpture installations, they propose alternate spaces in which bodies both human and non-human interact: themes of embodiment, comfort, queerness, and ecology are the basis for playful, collaborative world-building.
SARAH DAVIDSON works primarily between drawing and painting to create compositions in which shadowy, biomorphic figures and delicate, foliated fragments mingle. Making reference to a history of discourses constructing the ‘natural’ world, their works investigate bodies, environment, observation, and the tangled strings which often bind them together. While they often draws directly from ‘nature’, their drawings diffract distinctions between embodied self and other through a queer ecological lens: critters and space collapse in upon one another, suggesting a permeable web. Both the eye and the mind work towards the known--animals, plants, brush marks, lines--but are caught in a space of undoing. A question floats among the forms: who’s seeing who, and how?
JULI MAJER is an artist whose work explores heightened emotional and psychological states, imagined worlds, and peculiar modes of existence. Investigating fictional microcosms through drawing, sculpture, and comics, Majer weaves together visceral abstractions, somatic sensations, and inarticulate textures which emerge from relationships between her characters, symbols, objects, and environments.
Through use of mediums such as set design, still-life styling, sculpture, ink drawings and textile works, SONJA RATKAY uses materiality as means for navigating the threshold of interior and exterior realms. By evoking liminal states of being, she creates choreographed movements between body and mind, a pathway for feelings, thoughts and associations to travel. Using motifs of fleshy text and abstracted bodies featuring organs and veins but also ghost-like extensions and shadows, attention is drawn to skins and boundaries of bodies in space and how materiality and immateriality press into one another through memory and perception.
Through tactile sculptures meant to be both observed and interacted with, MEL THIBODEAU’s work squirms around the question ‘what is a body?’ Their vocabulary of soft forms is often bound by colourful ropes, grommets, and plush chains. Feelings of nostalgic comfort and the uncanny are fostered by a combination of toylike textures and half-recognizable body parts, eluding exact description and hovering somewhere between person and thing. These partial and abstracted forms unsettle gender, wink at desire, and ponder fleshy realities both familiar and alien.