Graphic Novel The Wrapped Woman and Her Hasty Marriage to a Gorilla is launch from Blurb Books of San Francisco.
“WRAPPINGS series to chart one woman’s rapture” by Tony Martins.
The article ran as follows: For seminal psychologist Carl Jung, “individuation” is a healthy process of self actualization akin to peeling away the layers of an onion. The objective is to clarify and differentiate the individual self. Husband-and-wife collaborators Sherry Tompalski and Graham Thompson apply this metaphor beautifully in WRAPPINGS, a three-act multidisciplinary project launched in late September at Ottawa’s Electric Street Studio (229 Crichton Street). Coined by the artists as “the adventures of the Wrapped Woman and her hasty marriage to a gorilla,” the tragicomic project will ultimately offer a range mixed media, sculpture, and video illustrating pivotal moments in the life of the wrapped woman. In Act 1, shown September 20 to 26, the collage and oil-on-canvas works chronicled the wrapped woman’s rush “to get started,” says Tompalski, wherein she hastily marries a gorilla who is a vet from WWll. “They immediately have a family,” continues Tompalski. “The story is set in the 1950s. This show is the beginning of the Wrapped Woman’s path to healing and freedom from fear.” Delving deeper into the wrapped woman character, Tompalski says: “Her head and hands are wrapped, her eyes covered with sunglasses. She does not speak. She seeks to hide her many emotions, her shameful experiences and remains silent about important events … Nonetheless, her body expresses the many emotions she is unable to give voice to.”
After obtaining funding in 2011 from the Ontario Arts Council, Tompalski and Thompson set about developing the WRAPPINGS characters. “I liked the idea of the two extremes,” Tompalski explains. “The wrapped woman contained and held together, in a sense undeveloped, living an interior life but also impossible to read and potentially manipulative … and the gorilla’s pure emotion, uncontained, explosive but also transparent, almost naive, impulsive with a lack of introspection.” A clinical psychiatrist by trade, Tompalski knows a few things about married couple dynamics and applies them to the wrapped woman and gorilla husband. “They are drawn to each other as many couples are unconsciously because of similar wounds or losses in their past,” said Tompalski. “And so they have an immediate empathy for each other even though they are so very different and really know very little about each other. He is a war vet and she is a reeducation camp survivor.” “I did couples therapy for over 15 years and also assessed and treated over 100 soldiers at CFB Petawawa,” notes Tompalski, “so I have had a lot of experience with the manifestations of trauma and the complexities of relationships.”
To effectively exhibit the entire project when completed, the collaborators are looking for a larger venue that can accommodate video and sculpture along with the mixed media pieces. Tompalski reveals that act 2 will be tragic and act 3 will be the liberation of the wrapped woman: “In the final act the wrapped woman revisits her life, becomes strengthened and removes the bandages.”