"The Mouth in the 'Gates of Prayer' is many mouths. It is firstly the mouth of Hannah, a barren woman in the Bible's book of Samuel, gestures in silent agony toward God in hope of bearing a child. However, the orifice of spiritual symbolism is also an ordinary place, a daily entry point of sustenance and an origin of sound. Breninger's heavily worked and reworked of his own and his wife's lips constitute a personal statement about the gamut of experiences lived out of one body. The mouth is a site of extreme pleasure and pain - it grimaces and grins, pouts and peckers, smirks and smiles, trembles and closes tight. It is one of the most sensitive organs of the body.
Breninger's obsession with the human visage is not exceptional. It is, however, uniquely disturbing and... functions as a metanym for humanity at large, with its primitive needs, mortal flesh and fallible ego. Its contortions echo our own dreams, fears, doubts and assertions. For Breninger the human body is not a happy body, but one tormented by the extreme responsibilities and ecstasy of being alive."
Christ's Wounds, the Sublime and the Ordinary
Anna Clabburn (Catalogue Essay: Stigma, 1997)
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