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☞ Making Connections

January 20, 2012

Leona Scull-Hons, Dance With Me Sarah Style

In the midst of a social media revolution it is rare to find someone as dedicated to exploring and cultivating personal relationships as is artist Leona Scull-Hons. Her works are beautiful and poignant examinations of the mechanics of firsthand connections. For these contemplative works, Leona abandons predictable tools, choosing instead to employ interaction as the primary medium in the facture of her art.

Leona Scull-Hons, Mend

In her work, Mend, Leona sewed a paper dress and wore it every day for seven days. Leona explains, “Every night to ensure that the dress would remain functional, rips and tears were mended. Each day a different color thread was used to repair the dress. The thread served as a device that recorded daily activities.” Sweat stains and dirt marks accumulated throughout the week and served as vestiges of the days’ activities. The dress itself, “looked like a wedding dress and it was very loud/crunchy at first. People wondered, ‘why is she so dressed up’?” That spark of curiosity, started conversations and interactions that otherwise would not have taken place.

Dance with Me Sarah Style

With her performance piece Dance with Me Sarah Style (named after a free-spirited friend), Leona used activity as a means to engage people. Here she made a small dance floor (dusted with a thin layer of sawdust or baby powder) and asked strangers to dance with her at the exhibit’s opening. Overcoming the initial awkwardness, and engaging a person one on one in an adventitious way, Leona’s work turns a chance encounter into a special experience. After the opening the dance floor, now blanketed with shoe prints and smudges, provided a visual narrative of the events that had taken place on its surface.

Artist Leona Scull-Hons in the Gallery

Leona isn’t concerned with creating sellable objects, her art is not a commodity– instead her work, relies on vulnerability, trust, and happenstance as compositional elements with an engineered experience as the final product in her creative process. Perhaps the work which best illustrates her exhaustive commitment to cultivating improbable connections, is her Framing Domestics interactive project. Leona explains that, this project which took place over several months, “began when I called one random household. The individual on the phone was given the choice to choose one cooking, cleaning or pampering service for me to execute for them free of charge (example: cook a peach cobbler, clean an oven, give a manicure, etc.).” A key element in the project, was that the recipient had to converse with her as she worked for them. In return for completing the task, and only if the experience was a positive one, she asked that the person recommend her to a friend such that she could go to that person’s house and complete a random assignment for them too. Leona completed over 70 service projects. Each time when she would arrive at a person’s house she found that, “at first people would be sort of standoffish-then people would open up–but everyone opens up in a different way…even if it felt awkward at first, in the end, it felt right.”

Leona Scull-Hons, Framing Domestics

Breaking through the clumsy newness of a first encounter and finding that place where things start to feel familiar and comfortable, is a theme Leona delves into with an earnest devotion and deft grace. She adds, “I treated the action with as much sincerity as a painting.” Her skillful fabrication of art that deals with the intricacies of human interaction is a perceptive testament to the conceivable beauty and underrated significance of everyday connections.

This article of mine first appeared in Jakarta’s SUB Magazine.  It is reprinted here with permission. : )

One Comment leave one →
  1. Pamela permalink
    January 23, 2012 12:48 pm

    Beautiful….simply beautiful!

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