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March 28, 2014

Body, mind and art

Installation at Beverly gallery offers a twist on exercise

“Live-work,” at 17 Cox gallery in Beverly, is a work of art that is also a workout for both the body and mind.

Created by Amy Archambault, who teaches art at the College of the Holy Cross, the installation looks like a cross between a jungle gym and an architectural model.

“I was thinking about that gallery as a work space,” Archambault said. “I took ‘work’ as ‘working out,’ and took this twist on exercise.”

Occupying a corner of the gallery, “Live-work” consists of several platforms ascending like stairs in a space defined by a window, door, ladder and some curved sections of wall.

They are structures we use to define the spaces we live in, but they are arranged in a way that makes you wonder what this particular space is for.

“With the window, there’s a question of whether I am in the interior or exterior,” Archambault said. “I like creating this kind of confusion in the viewer.”

An adjoining platform, shaped like a bed, invites visitors to lie down and watch a version of an exercise video playing above it on the ceiling.

Archambault clustered these elements together in a way that she hopes will tempt the viewer to sit, lie or climb on and through them, defining its use in the process.

“This is the first interactive work I’ve done,” Archambault said. “People do want to touch and participate. It’s a space that invites the viewer to participate, with different levels of engagement.”

Archambault played lacrosse at Holy Cross as an undergraduate, before studying studio art at the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree in 2011.

Her athletic ability is applied in her installations, which were partly inspired by the work of another athletic artist, Matthew Barney.

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