In Aragonite Stars, Suné Woods evokes multidimensional states of existence with video passages of waterscapes, aquatic animals, mythological creatures, and other bodies immersed in water. Touch, intimacy, and connection are conduits to the spiritual, stirring emotion and conjuring the sensual. Oceans are believed to be the home of the ancestors, a realm in between the living and the dead, where many Indigenous and African mythologies are located. Woods sets this work in numerous bodies of water – natural hot springs, tide pools, the Los Angeles River, ocean waters of Southern California and near Waiʻanae, Hawai’i, where dolphins tend to frequent, and river water of El Yunque, Puerto Rico’s rainforest. The sequencing of the videos in this immersive installation follows that of a fragmentary dream or the language of collage, using non-linear logic to speak to the interconnectedness of all that is physical. Mammals, in the form of humans, are not superior to other beings. Clothed in multicolored patterned fabrics, they appear as underwater creatures – embracing, tumbling, and reaching towards an unknown depth. As in Woods’s previous collage and video work, this watery dreamscape is liminal, the edges and limits of skin, body, energy, and what we understand as human, are ever attached to a boundless conception of time as these entities continue to yield themselves toward transcendence.
Foregrounded in Woods’ work is the exploration of Audre Lorde’s seminal essay, “Uses of the Erotic: Erotic as Power,” and the demand to use sensuality and touch as healing modalities. With a soundscape created by Meshell Ndegeocello, commissioned for this iteration at BRIC, the pairing of video and sound provides a palpable sense of the power of intimacy – bodies are unclothed and caress, fingers and mouths touch, descending down in a gentle embrace. Woods offers this space to question how feeling, pleasure, and vulnerability with others can not only heal but shape and transform who holds and wields power.
PLEASE NOTE: This exhibition and the images contain sexually explicit imagery.