Open Gallery (Lipscomb University) / 507 Hagan St. September 1, 2018 - September 27, 2018

Samantha Hensel

"The power of softness: a full embrace of all human identity and individuality void of conforming to social structures of perfection, in direct opposition to the current trend of hate in our high tension, anger vs. anger approach to problem solving. Through soft sculpture, painting, and performance with the literal body, I give form to the dualities of surrender and tension, warm feminine energy and cold apathy—the hard and the soft. Referencing the physical and emotional need to cease the time and energy wasted on hate and destruction, this work is mindful of the notion that we are all just human, made of flesh. Simultaneously, when one surrenders to this softness, this strength from the heart, one is exposed to vulnerability and pure transparency. With an inviting spirit of kink and touchability, my objects invite the viewer to a space of self-reflection, one that intends to interrogate the question of what it means to be human in present time in hopes to encourage the true, strong self to emerge. My work reflects a process of creating space for empathy and human individuality through dualities of the soft and hard. With this awareness, one is able to be exposed to truths in our current society, and is able to toy and poke at the created boundaries of conformity and expectations for themselves and ultimately, for others. The constructs and boundaries I am most interested in questioning are emotional and physical freedom, acceptance of all bodies, traits of softness being seen as weak, and anti-hate, anti-violent approaches to communicating about dire social topics. This current body of work includes paintings, soft sculptures, ceramic sculpture and performance. It is very alive, in which it adapts to its surroundings, opening itself to more questioning and interrogation of its purpose." - Samantha Hensel