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Kel Mur: Converge at Pyle Center

February 1 @ 8:00 am - February 23 @ 4:00 pm

Two photos of plaster sculptures, each showing the shape of a human torso, are shown against a beige background.

Soft bodies clasp together like puzzle pieces in Converge: Studies Of Cohabitation,  a show in which multimedia conceptual artist Kel Mur explores what it means to share a home with her romantic partner. By displaying plaster molds of their bodies wrapped around each other, with strips of bedsheets soaked in wax enveloping them, Mur demonstrates the tension between the resilience and tenderness of a relationship. Wax as a material is soft and pliable when it is warm. But when it is cold, it is hard and easily breakable. Love can be understood the same way. And these sculptures painstakingly capture the fineness of this level of intimacy.

Mur likens the different studies to a cocoon—something that encloses another thing to protect it. The lovers, in all their tenderness, try to defend one another. Their limbs are wrapped around each other’s backs as armor. The ethos of the artwork is unflinching and unafraid. It shows how living together involves building a safe space that cultivates change and growth for people, much like a chrysalis. It is permeable and vulnerable but still has the capacity to hold those inside it. As the people inside grow together in and around each other, the cocoon grows around them as well. The home adapts and this is seen in the ways the figures shift and change around the space.

What strikes me most about Converge is how it points us to our capacity for grace and mercy. We come together in our frailness, humanity, and vulnerability and hold tightly to the ones we love until we feel their hearts beating close to ours. It is a great risk, but I forget it as soon as I see the two become one. When I see the figures, I can imagine them breathing one another’s air, living in one another’s skin, and I remember the joy of knowing and being known by someone so deeply that we live and move and have our being in them and with them. Oh, what beauty.

Hannah Keziah Agustin

Note: Gallery hours for this show are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week and during special events on weekends and evenings.


February 1 @ 8:00 am
February 23 @ 4:00 pm
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Pyle Center
702 Langdon Street
Madison, 53706 United States
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