• Maggie Levine

ArtWrite 9/19: Alicia Piller's "Across the wasteland, a twisted melody. Matter and spirit."

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

I’m still trying to reach teachers, so today’s response is going to be a model for a straightforward writing exercise that could be done at any level: Focusing on similes, metaphors, and personification, describe the painting, photograph, etc.

If I could see it from above, I imagine the installation would look like a reduced human rib cage with 10 inward curving ribs instead of 24. In the photo, however, I see the jaws of a prehistoric creature ready to seize the hunk of sculpture dangling above it. The maxilla and mandible are comprised of two rows of tusk shaped sculptures that resemble men bowing in prayer. They’re studded with fang-like protrusions and wear white tattered robes made from

strips of vinyl, leather, semi-inflated tubular balloons, and construction fencing. The rows of worshippers curve towards each other, meeting at an altar where two small figures regard each other like icons in a religious painting.


A hunk of sculptural meat dangles over the maw of this carnivorous chapel. One end looks like an enormous flower with black vinyl petals and a pistil made of raw, fatty flesh. The massive piece of prey is entirely covered with battered cellphones displaying actual photos of victims of violence. These phones are ironic reminders of how violent acts have become everyday events that would never be acknowledged if they weren’t recorded.











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