Opening Reception: Friday, May 4 from 7pm to 9pm
Rex Delafkaran, Leslie Holt and Tim McLoraine explore and trouble the idea of the taboo through themes of sexuality, failure and mental illness. Attempting to expose parts of our society often relegated to the shadows, these three artists destigmatize the darker parts of ourselves and our history, demanding closer examination.
These works engage with this examination through different media, conceptual intent and experiences. Collectively the pieces call attention to objects, identities, physicality and mental states that are systematically situated to be shameful.
Trophies for Getting Ahead
Glossy, awkward phalices atop industrial concrete mock themselves and yet are enamored by their own aesthetic accomplishments – congrats – they are telling you you’ve made it.
Working through conceptual frameworks of language, sexuality and their relationship to success and failure, I have created self congratulatory, functional, penetrative objects to illustrate the absurdity and engendered failures in systems of economic, social, and artistic success. I’m attempting to mock and subvert the systems that situate and codify my identities and desires.
Unspeakable: Hysterical Women
My recent series Unspeakable explores the often-private states of extreme emotion caused by war, loss or mental illness. Hysterical Women refers to the fraught historical designation and marginalization of women with and without mental illness. Stitching with embroidery thread, I directly translate clinical sketches of institutionalized women of the 19th and 20th centuries who were studied and sometimes on public display in attempts to “cure” them of their maladies. The women were often depicted as grotesque and beast-like in appearance with exaggerated features and sexualized gestures.
Amorphous paint stains containing unknown histories of pain hover over the women, drip onto them and suspend them in an other-worldly place. The act of stitching is intimate and tender, in contrast to the stains that emphasize the unruly quality of these vulnerable states. By removing them from their clinical context, I aim to preserve and remember this shameful chapter of western medicine and pose questions about the ways it echoes in contemporary times.
Failure is the greatest teacher. Sometimes it pools in the corners. I forget to look at it, pick it up, put it on. I’ve been experimenting and taking risks, and the artifacts of my failures are accumulating. I want them to be something other than discarded.
Using the remnants of Past Failures to construct current ones, I am hoping to extend my education. I want the failures to be unhidden. I want to honor their power. Given my heritage, I am culturally unsure what rites and rituals are proper for me to engage in publicly to achieve this goal. Through art-making I am trying to develop my own.
Red Dirt Studio is located at 4051 34th St., Mount Rainier, MD.