E. Joan Horrocks


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For more than three years I asked people from all over the world a question: "What do you think of shoulder pads?" Comments came from men and women of all ages and backgrounds. Some of the most intense emotional responses came from men. The answers included very personal views on body image and why people need to beef up their shoulders even when shoulder pads are not necessarily in fashion. Men and women felt they had to wear them to project more strength in public, to get ahead at work, to have more power over others and not only in business situations. Some felt that the broad shoulder look enhanced sexuality, others felt it hid figure flaws, quite a few people reported feeling naked without these pads.

In "Shoulders Exposed," a CD of the interviews plays in the gallery while a large kinetic metal sculpture with a ten-foot high Plexiglas tower wafts colorful shoulder pads on an air current to the ceiling. They then float down to be carried away on a long conveyer belt in a never-ending procession. Accompanying black and white photographs relate to the interviews and a short video entitled "Adding On," shows raw clay being applied to build up the shoulders of volunteers according to their wishes for 'better shoulders'.