SCAD Museum of Art presents “Huh,” an exhibition by Dutch artist Lily van der Stokker. Her multifarious approach to artmaking embraces the joys and foibles of domesticity and relationships. Through painting, sculpture and installation, as well as a blurring of these distinct disciplines, van der Stokker immerses viewers in an environment of saccharine happiness. In the exhibition, the artist explores constructed ideas of femininity and the body though an exuberant embrace of pinks, and motifs like flowers and curlicues.
Suggestions of the body are found in cartoonish forms; two large wall paintings pair short sayings like “nice being here on the left side,” “nice being here on the right side” or “laying here together” with lumpy anthropomorphic twosomes. While these wall paintings tower over viewers, they are inviting and pleasant. Their limp bodies are adorned in floral elements and painted in the style of a doodle, evoking friendly cartoon giants. Text in other sculptures and paintings is similarly affable, innocuous or passive, like “Best Regards” or the exhibition’s namesake “Huh.”
Van der Stokker’s sculptures and paintings explore traditional ideas and clichés of femininity, while radically turning them on their heads through ownership and assertion. All of the works in “Huh” are executed in shades of pink. The color, culturally assigned to young girls, has come to represent youth, girlishness or frivolity. Through the enthusiastic, brazen embrace of pink, van der Stokker questions this coding. The artist flips the idea of optimistic color as unintelligent and employs happiness and optimism as her greatest strengths.
In addition to color, nods to tidiness and cleanliness in the domestic space are referenced in select sculptures with small shelves holding toilet paper rolls, precisely placed and untouched. The toilet paper rolls bring another element of low cultural status to the exhibition. While pleasant and tidy, they encapsulate the endeavors of the artist to present viewers with harmless imagery, while ultimately critiquing traditional roles of women.
This exhibition is part of SCAD deFINE ART 2018, held Feb. 20–23 at university locations in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, and Hong Kong. SCAD deFINE ART is an annual program of exhibitions, lectures, performances and public events that highlights emerging and established artists and visionaries.