Hampton Bays artist Brooke Bofill recently completed a large steel sculpture of a zipper, entitled “Reveal,” and East End videographer Jeff Cully caught the entire construction process on film as part of an ongoing series of artist profiles (watch the video below).
Bofill, 33, just earned a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Art from Stony Brook University in May, but she continues to take classes there in order to use the school’s excellent studios and foundry, where she created “Reveal,” her massive zipper, in the spirit of artists like Claes Oldenburg. “Monumentalizing this tiny, otherwise inane piece of aperture brings heightened attention to its important role,” Bofill explains, adding, “What a zipper holds back, conceals and reveals can also be considered.”
The artist points out the zipper’s sexual connotations, noting that a closed zipper can represent chastity, but it can also be quite sexy when opened. “The sculpture is intentionally designed to look like a body laying with legs spread open,” Bofill says, reinforcing the idea of a zipper as a sexual icon. “The work can also be interpreted as a reaction to commercialism and advertising, and the obviousness of selling sex,” she continues.
A lifelong East End resident, Bofill has traveled extensively and is passionate about visiting third-world nations and the exploited. “Reveal” has already been displayed at Stony Brook, but it will be brought to Shanghai, China this October and shown in an exhibition about government surveillance and oppression in that country. She acknowledges that the zipper could also symbolize the factories in China and all the heavy implications about worker abuses, outsourcing and more. “The piece could be open to many types of conversation,” Bofill says.
Though she is most comfortable working with metal, Bofill has created a strong body of work in various media, including “Survival,” a piece made of salt for the Fukushima biennial in Japan, a window-mounted sculpture, “ROYGBV,” featuring test tubes and geometric metal lines for the Library in Stony Brook University’s the Chemistry building, and more.
Looking ahead, Bofill says she is working on a bronze sculpture about “touching, relationships, strings attached, the uncomfortability of getting close to someone.” The piece is a collaboration and includes various molds of Bofill’s body parts, which the viewer will be encouraged to touch and move. The artist says this new piece should be finished in August.
To learn more about Brooke Bofill and see her sculptures, visit brookebofill.com.