Who are you, really? A collection of cells? A narrative in a shared history? A body in a sea of seven billion? What makes you you? How do you physically interact with the world—and vice versa?
In today's political and cultural climate, one largely driven by identity politics, many of us are looking for that answer. At times, the politics of who you are often supersede what you can do and how you physically move within the world. To explore this relationship between authentic self, presumed identity and the physical body, we've invited six emerging women and nonbinary artists to present work that embraces and/or challenges the intersections of the body and personal/political resistance.
Join us at Art + Vinyl on Dec. 7 from 7 to 9 PM for complimentary bevs (thanks Argus Cidery!) and the opening reception of Through Friction, featuring pieces by Austin-based artists Arielle Austin, Elaine Alonzo, Macaulie Gabe, Lily Koufer, Madi Beavers and Sasha Fishman. The exhibition is free and open to the public and will be on display through Jan. 5.
Meet the artists:
Elaine Alonzo, who is best known for her inventive landscapes and fantasy inducing environments, brings a mixed bag of ability to the table. From structured surrealism evoking futuristic topography, to more visceral works of women lost in dreamworlds, she never fails to elicit the intuition in her imagination, catalyzing a magical and scientific experience for the viewer. A note from Alonzo regarding her pieces exhibiting at Through Friction: "My interaction with the world outside myself is found within. My main way of expressing what comes from my thoughts, feelings, ideals, motives, etc is by pushing paint around. It usually evolves on its own, in its own form, into a story that helps me to later understand my own. The answers I am seeking on a daily basis usually come on their own, in their own time and while I sometimes frustratingly seek and seek, while I continue do the work... painting away... I enter a meditative state... for days. I just keep coming back even when it doesn't make sense yet. It's like a giant puzzle... I can only see and understand what I've created completely, when I am done creating."
Macaulie Gabe is currently pursuing a BFA in Studio Art at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the Russell Lee Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Photography for two consecutive years. She works primarily in photography and additionally recontextualizes her sculptural work into her image-making process. She describes her work as asserting "themes of sexuality, perversion, objectification, and humanization to encapsulate and further explore the complexities contributing to the female experience. It uses dark comedy and absurdity to confuse the inherent or implicit sexual nature of these intimate and impersonal bodies. Surrealism and abjection intersect within strategically constructed compositions of fragmented bodies and bodily objects. These images hover between actuality and fabrication, simultaneously simulating and existing within our natural tangible world."
Lily Koufer is an emerging artist living in Austin Texas. She works in pen and collage, creating portraits of women. She is inspired by Women's history with a particular interest in home economics. Lily began her art education taking classes at the Des Moines Art Center, and continued to pursue her interest in art while studying at Goucher College in Maryland. Through Goucher college she created an arts based program at Earl's Place, a transitional living shelter in inner city Baltimore. A note from Koufer, regarding the work exhibited at Through Friction: "I am fascinated by the association between femininity and consumption. Consumerism being presented as a female pursuit is a concept i explore throughout my work by using furniture and women's clothing catalogs as a medium. I present my women in worlds colored by products created and marketed to them. "
Madi Beavers is a student at the University of Texas at Austin studying art education, with plans to become a teaching artist in the future. Their art focus is on illustration and graphic design, but they've recently discovered a passion for sculpting gross and mythical objects. Being nonbinary heavily influences their work, and promoting gender education in art and education is a big focus for them. On their sculpture being exhibited at Through Friction: "This piece is a discussion about my love for the macabre and my own body. My body, and identity, are made up of a multitude of aspects. I’m proud of my gender identity, of my existence outside gender, social and cultural norms. I see the macabre possibilities of the human body as beautiful, unique, something to be explored and cherished, much in same way as my own identity. So many times I’ve been faced with people and environments where I’m regarded as an ‘other’, something to stereotyped, fetishized, scrutinized and shunned. To be myself is not to hide, but to defy and proudly stand out, to show what others might see as gross or uncomfortable. This piece is an assertion of my existence and identity, a countering method to those who question me, as well as a celebration of myself and passions."
Arielle Austin was originally born and raised in Southern California. She studied graphic design at California State University Northridge, then worked as a designer in Los Angeles before moving to Austin for a change of pace. Austin works primarily with paint, non-traditional materials and dried flowers. From layered oil paintings, vibrant abstraction and repurposed blooms, Austin believes the viewer can find a part of themselves in each piece. A note from Austin, regarding the pieces exhibiting at Through Friction: "My work explores the intimate relationship between subject and viewer with layers, texture and details. While experimenting with this process, I compel the viewer to take a closer look, to become intimate with the art, resembling our very own human nature and desire. To be fully seen and known. The desire that makes known the unspoken, observes the corners, wonders of technique, yearns to touch textures, dissect its layers."
Sasha Fishman is an Austin-based artist, originally from Baltimore, Maryland, who practices in sculpture, transmedia, and photography. She is in her final year at The University of Texas at Austin earning a BFA in Studio Art and hopes to extend her practice in California. She spends the majority of her time painting, sanding, and mixing resin (all of which she loves), and she will drop everything and anything for miniature, transparent, squishy—or for a Cronenberg film. A note from Fishman, regarding the pieces exhibiting at Through Friction: "I recently created a large-form, organic/artificial bodily sculpture (named Norman) embedded with a projector, which projects onto a wall. Its excessive and grotesque components ejects an extraterrestrial aura, while its autonomous undulating limbs simulate that of a human. This paradox places the sculpture between our world and the unknown. I am currently working on a new bodily sculpture (name TBD) that will form a symbiotic relationship with this one. It will act as a partner that will receive the video transmission from the previously described creature. These bodies question logic of the biological, the physical, the digital and the body. What personal relationships develop between our body and a foreign body? What makes an object feel organic and alive or artificial and distant? What happens between the physical and the digital?"
Event is free and open to the public. RSVP for updates and pre-event info on all of our exhibiting artists.
MEET THE PRODUCERS, PARTNERS AND VENUE:
About #bossbabesATX, the producer: Through our programming, we hope to foster community, conversation and commerce around women in creative industry and the arts and women-owned businesses. Our productions center on personal and professional development, activism, the arts, entrepreneurialism, and community infrastructure. We believe intersectionality, informed decision-making, sharing professional resources and actively advocating for women's rights and the rights of marginalized peoples are inherently valuable and beneficial. Learn more about our programming and mission at bossbabes.org/why. *Our events prioritize the voices of self-identifying women and non-binary folks. We are not gender-discriminant; all are welcome to attend.
About Mindzai Creative's Art + Vinyl Gallery, the venue: For this exhibition, #bossbabesATX has partnered with MINDZAI CREATIVE, a design studio, print shop, and art gallery with studios in Atlanta, GA and Austin, Texas. MINDZAI CREATIVE was built on originality, creativity and a passion for visual arts. By focusing on core design values that are classically timeless and a variety of print solutions, MINDZAI has positioned itself to be a reliable source for all their clients design and print needs. They will be hosting Through Friction at their Art & Vinyl Retail Store + Art Gallery.