Whose House? Carrie’s House!

“I don’t think our exes should be exiled.”

This is the core sentiment behind Loverboys, the new solo exhibition by visual artist Carrie Bryson. The show, which runs from Sept. 28 to Oct. 14 at La Maison des artistes visuels francophones, is billed as an homage to all the men she’s ever had crushes on. Delving into one’s own romantic past may seem a risky artistic choice, but Bryson insists that the majority of the emotional onus isn’t on herself.

“I think it’s much more vulnerable for the subjects, the muses,” Bryson says. “Not all of the pieces are based on people, but most of them are. Some of them are based on the intangible feelings you get when you have a crush on or are in a relationship with someone. Like the smell of their hair is going to be different than the smell of anybody else’s.”

Bryson says she vetted all her exes to get their permission to be used as inspiration for the pieces. Not everyone was receptive to the idea, however.

“My ex-husband (said no),” Bryson says. She had been inspired by the myth of the Corinthian Maid, which tells the story of a woman whose husband went away to war, but before he left, she drew his silhouette on her wall. "He died, and she always had his shadow there. I wanted my ex-husband to stand in the gallery while I drew his shadow on the wall. But he said ‘no way.'"

1) Flower needlepoint

“This is a family heirloom. It was done by my great-grandmother, Florence McGhee, who was doing needlepoint well into her 80s. There are perhaps five others by her (in our family).”

2) Mantle decorations

“My boyfriend went to Iceland back in July and brought back that volcanic rock. The phrenology bust was a gift to myself when I moved into this apartment. I had to look up what phrenology was after I bought it. There’s one little part on the back I love that just reads ‘selfish sentiments.’”

3) Fireplace

“The fireplace actually burns wood. We have bonfires all the time. You can roast marshmallows.”

4) Fridge art

“(The illustrations) are by Matea Radic. These are prints, obviously. I would never put originals on my fridge with Scotch Tape. I have a photo of my dad and I, and another of my dad in his beer league baseball days. I also have two postcards from my last two solo shows. I went to a Museumnacht in Amsterdam, so that’s why I have (the poster).”

5) Bees

“This piece is for the show in September. It’s for my current boyfriend. On our first date, we watched the last episode of Black Mirror, the one with the electronic bees. After that we were sending each other that meme of Oprah releasing bees.”

6) Alcatraz work in progress

“This is another piece for the show, based on an ex-boyfriend I took to San Francisco for his birthday when I was 18. I paid for it with my student loans, but we broke up beforehand and still had to go on this trip together anyway.”

Published in Volume 72, Number 2 of The Uniter (September 14, 2017)

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