In many contexts, soft is a derisive term. When describing character, it connotes wimpiness or gullibility; when describing physique, it suggests the flabbiness our fat-phobic culture finds utterly repellent. In 2011, Heather Cassils banished every trace of physical softnesswithout surgery or any kind of hormone treatmentby adhering to a grueling diet and workout regimen, gaining twenty-three pounds of muscle in as many weeks. For this solo show, Cassils used his bodynow a paragon of hypertrophic hardness and butched-out sexinessas both medium and prop.
A display of twelve photographs, which document “Becoming an Image,” his 2012–13 series of performances from prior exhibitions in London, Montreal, and Los Angeles, depict him pulverizing one-ton mountains of clay into rough-hewn, abstract forms. These seductive, cinematic images of the artistjust barely
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