Real Art Ways

The Talking Cure Exhibition Opens at Real Art Ways

February 12 – May 25, 2015

Real Art Ways hosts the work of artist Melissa Stern, presented with Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living and the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network


 Hartford, CT – The Talking Cure, a multi-media project created by New York-based sculptor Melissa Stern will be on view at Real Art Ways from February 12, 2015 through May 25, 2015, with an artist reception on Saturday, March 7 from 4-6 PM.The exhibition, which blends sculpture, storytelling, drawing, and audio technology, is named for Sigmund Freud’s original description of psychoanalysis.

The exhibition’s 12 sculptures are inspired by the cheerful, somewhat precarious inhabitants of Stern’s imagination, made physical through clay, wood, found objects, and other materials. Often missing a limb or facial feature, the sculptures’ attitudes are intentionally ambiguous; they may appear vulnerable, humorous, or mischievous, suggesting and eliciting a range of human emotions.

Intrigued as much by how people think about her art as by her own motivations for creating it, Stern employed 12 writers to imagine an inner monologue for each sculpture. With little direction from Stern, the monologues were recorded by voice actors, who spoke their interpretations of the written pieces that had in turn been inspired by each sculpture.

The audio recordings were digitally coded and stored in the cloud. Each piece was assigned a QR Code digital marker; exhibition visitors can point their smart phones at the code to trigger the audio. Guests then, by looking at, reading, and listening to the work, become part of the collaboration.

Stern also presents several drawings in conjunction with her sculptural pieces, similarly characterized by their richly drawn and deeply layered surfaces, as well their quirky, often dark humor.

A graduate of Wesleyan University, Stern has worked in both sculpture and drawing for over twenty years, living and exhibiting in California, Europe, and New York City. Her work is featured in a number of prominent corporate and museum collections including Dow Jones, JP Morgan, The Arkansas Art Center, American Museum of Ceramic Art and the Kohler Corporation, where she was an artist-in-residence. Her artwork was featured in the 3RD, WORLD CERAMICS BIENNALE 2005 Invitational exhibition, Icheon, Korea,  Trans- Ceramic Art and 500 Figures in Clay. Her one-of-a-kind book NIGHTMARES has been acquired by the Library of Congress.

Following a successful exhibition at the Akron Art Museum, The Talking Cure is presented at Real Art Ways in collaboration with Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living and the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network.

A reception for the artist, which is free and open to the public will be held on Saturday, March 7, 2015 from 4-6 PM. Real Art Ways regular gallery hours are daily from 2-9 PM.

Real Art Ways is one of the leading contemporary arts organizations in the United States, with a record of linking artists, innovation and community. Programs include visual arts, with exhibitions, public art projects, and artist presentations; cinema, with independent and international films 7 nights a week; music; performance; literary events; community and educational programming.

The Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network is comprised of Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living, Natchaug Hospital, Rushford and the behavioral health departments of the Hospital of Central Connecticut, MidState Medical Center, and The William W. Backus Hospital. For more than a century, the members of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network have been connecting people with behavioral health services including inpatient and outpatient services — and everything in between — in a variety of settings for children, adolescents and adults with mental health or substance abuse issues.

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Taryn Bunger
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