Camp: The Perils and Merits of Touch

approx. 96 x 48”, hand-stitched cotton and found textiles, 2012

artist statement

Summer camp is meant to create an interaction between young people and nature.  So often memories tend to focus more on fascinations and interactions with other campers than with the flora and fauna.  Wanting to be noticed or hoping to be invisible, aching to touch or be touched, the pursuit of some fleeting moment of coolness in the presence of others. Campers were flooded with an overpowering awareness of sexuality at odds with a limited and faulty knowledge of sexual acts and an emotional immaturity sure to punish.

 

This piece is a hand-stitched world of memories and allegories.  References to archetypal stories with visceral elements and contemporary relevance are imbedded in an exaggerated natural world.  A viewer sees this world, and it looks right back at them.  The characters, including over-sized kittens, Boy Scouts, floating putti and even a stitched image of the artist herself, return the gaze as if to ask, ‘What about you?’

 

This piece includes a boy cradled in the arms of older scouts in a first-aid carry enjoying the attention and contact while other boys lift their shirts and offer their tender bellies, Prometheus-like, to an incoming flock of supernatural birds.  A girl is surrounded by the flames of rapture (or something equally hot), her head bowed, while another solemnly prays, and a third girl doubts the candor of the whole scene.  Floating putti set the scene for the onset of secular love, while below a swimming lesson provides a sanctioned opportunity for gentle touch.  

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© 2020 Maggy Rozycki Hiltner, Sophie Hiltner