August 2018 Openings at IA&A at Hillyer

By Editorial Team on July 30, 2018
Photo courtesy of IA&A at Hillyer.
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Reception: Friday, August 3 from 6pm to 9pm
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IA&A at Hillyer (formerly Hillyer Art Space) presents three new exhibitions opening on August’s First Friday, featuring local artists Alexandra “Rex” Delafkaran and Damon Arhos, and group exhibition Under Another Roof featuring international artists Marina Buening, Kristien De Neve, Anita Guerra, Maria Korporal.The exhibitions will open on August 3rd, 2018 and run through Sunday, September 2nd, 2018.  The artists, Delafkaran, Arhos, and Guerra will be present to talk about their work with visitors at the reception on Friday, August 3rd, 2018 from 6-9pm.

Tender Bits by Alexandra “Rex” Delafkaran (Washington, DC)
Tender Bits is dedicated to those sweet, gritty places, tender thoughts and desires; it calls attention to our bodies and their dubious relationship to both cultural identity and intimacy. What languages and tools do we have to describe and access that intimacy in our bodies and in our cultures? Tender Bits is endearing and uncomfortable, soft and sarcastic, tender and trying.

Through abstract sculpture, flags, bodies, and text, Rex uses her experience as a queer, Iranian-American woman as a vehicle for expressing these ideas, as well as her research in the sociopolitical tension and history that now frames that experience. The show explores the relationship between cultural practices, desire and utility. The installation embraces the humor and awkwardness that conversations around intimacy provoke, and poses questions about the vulnerability and repercussions inherent to related practices. Employing Persian motifs, craft, industrial hardware and performance, Tender Bits further accesses aesthetics of repetition, eroticization and failure congruently in order to explore the multiplicity of bodily experiences and their dynamic relationship to language.

I Love To Hate You by Damon Arhos (Takoma Park, MD)
I Love To Hate You seeks to expose the destructive nature of prejudice using the artist’s identity as a gay American as its frame. What does it mean to concurrently love and hate something? To experience physical and emotional attraction and repulsion at the same time? How is it confusing to be affirmed and reviled? This disorienting state of affairs embodies the three artworks in this installation:

The Antidote pays homage to Andy Warhol, who in the 1960s used silkscreen prints to spotlight iconic American objects, among them electric chairs used to execute those criminals sentenced to death. Today, two anti-retroviral medications combine to form a drug, Truvada, used to treat and prevent HIV infection, though it does not offer a cure. Arhos intends for these hand-painted, decommoditized halftones to reinvigorate and reemphasize many of the global issues connected to HIV/AIDS today. Most importantly, he wants to accentuate the unjust stigma and shame that those who are infected or who may take Truvada as a preventative experience.

Yesterday’s 30 mourns the tragic loss of 30 transgender people in the United States in 2017. In an age when compelling gender issues are receiving renewed attention, it is clear that many who authentically express their gender identity are forgotten. Further, as the LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD reports, “Transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, face shockingly high rates of murder, homelessness, and incarceration.” Arhos uses Super 8 motion picture film for this installation—vintage technology that demonstrates the tenuous relationship between progress and regression.

Trapped offers an attractive dichotomy for each viewer: the rich allure of a lustrous surface versus the intended use for its materials. Rat traps, covered in a shiny red varnish are devices that contain their own narratives; while many find rodents to be frightening creatures, the traps themselves exhibit an inherently minimal and functional existence. Yet, who isn’t attracted to a shiny, bright-red surface? What if the objects themselves simultaneously evoke suspicion or uneasiness or dread? Arhos uses this metaphor to describe the confusion that many LGBTQ Americans feel when confronted both with embrace and disdain. As well, the artist combines these mundane objects into a tower—a symbol of strength and power—in order to confront and contradict discrimination, and to reclaim dignity and pride.

Under Another Roof by Marina Buening (Germany), Kristien De Neve (Belgium), Anita Guerra (Cuba), Maria Korporal (The Netherlands)
In May 2018, through the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ Sister Cities grant program, Hillyer partnered with Rome-based arts center, Sala 1, to bring a delegation of DC artists to Rome for a conference on the important role international collaborations play with in our own creative communities. Under Another Roof is a new iteration of an installation, Under the Same Roof exhibited at Sala 1 earlier this year. Four artists born in four different countries choose to focus on their desire and need for a harmonious coexistence. In Rome, they constructed a common building, octagonal in shape, with four entrances and four walls, as a strong visual metaphor of cohabitation. Each of the four vertical walls show how each artist connects earth with heaven through a personal visual vocabulary and message. As human beings we all live in a standing position as particular intersections of two fundamentally shared planes.

In Washington DC, the work of the four artists once again shares the same sky and the same ground while the four walls are differentiated by the traces of each individual’s visual language, and of course, a new roof at Hillyer. In each of the artists works there is a clear invitation towards self-investigation as a condition for living more harmoniously with other people and with our environment in its broadest sense. Marina Buening presents images of branches entitled, “In the Wild”. She encourages people to get in touch with the vulnerability of nature. For her, self- investigation has to do with healing the profound relationship between man and nature, necessary for a harmonious existence. In Kristien De Neve’s work on mirrors there is an explicit request to go beyond superficial self-images, personal masks that limit our capacity to relate to people in a new and profound way. In Anita Guerra’s work a floating identity is indicated, which can only be rooted in our physical bodies (“Corpus-Domus”). The body, viewed as that constant home which follows us around wherever we live, thus becomes an indicator or our own limitations and resources. Only by knowing ourselves can we begin to know each other. In Maria Korporal’s work – a video inspired by the ritual Walkabout of Australian Aborigines – self-knowledge emerges through a long and intriguing journey made up of many exchanges, creating networks between people that transcend territorial and personal limits.

Gallery Hours:

  • Tuesday-Friday: 12pm to 6pm
  • Saturday-Monday: 12pm to 5pm
  • and by appointment

IA&A at Hillyer is located at 9 Hillyer Ct. NW. For more informaiton, visit http://athillyer.org/.