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A Girl Mad as Birds Exhibition

January 9 – 20, 2018, LES Gallery

A Girl Mad as Birds

Cheryl Parry

January 9, 2018 – January 20, 2018

LES Gallery at the Clemente, 107 Suffolk Street

A stranger has come

To share my room in the house not right in the head,

A girl mad as birds…

Love in the Asylum, Dylan Thomas

A Girl Mad as Birds” is an installation by artist Cheryl Parry that explores the commonly held belief in 19th century psychiatry  that women were predisposed to madness. The pseudoscience of “Physiognomy”and portraits from the new invention of photography were believed to aid in diagnosing what often was not mental illness at all. Those photographs and that lesser-known tragic history inspired this exhibition.

CHERYL PARRY is a multi-media artist who has integrated painting, installation, text, film, sound and dance into her thematic projects with a focus on lesser-known history. She is the recipient of numerous stipends and two Puffin Foundation Grants for her exploration of the invisible world of women who did domestic work in the 19th century (The Maids Project: Maid with Wallpaper Wings) as well as women confined to The Magdalene Laundries of Ireland (The Cloths of Heaven). Other projects have included themes around the British poet/painter William Blake, and the centennial celebration of the death of the American poet, Walt Whitman. Her work is in many private collections, as well as the City of San Diego Permanent Collection. To explain grounding her work in “the history we do not know”, she refers to a quote from Bill T. Jones, an American director, choreographer, dancer and author:

And there is a solace if we dare believe it. The creation of beauty or art out of even the greatest of tragedies is in some manner the only way we can bare history.