March 13 - April 25, 2020
Art League Houston (ALH), a FotoFest 2020 Biennial Participating Space, is proud to present Where We Are, an exhibition of recent work by Artists Micaela Cadungog, Veronica Gaona and Jamie Robertson (all currently living and working in Houston, Texas). Curated by Sarah Beth Wilson, Director of Exhibitions and Curatorial Projects at ALH, Where We Are explores how each of these artists use their physical body as part of their creative practice – highlighting intersections of identity, race, gender and place, and emphasizing both personal and shared collective experiences.
Both Gaona and Robertson look to their family history and the past for research and creative inspiration, developing a practice that concurrently intertwines their analyses of race, gender, history and, in Gaona’s practice specifically, borderland politics. Their insertion of the self in their photographic and digital practices through the literal use of their body gives the work a sense of personal immediacy and familiarity. In reference to her recent work examining the history of portraiture, Robertson states, “The portrait studio, a controlled environment, was a site of exploitation of people of color; where they were often posed in stereotypical situations. This series allows me to explore the history of Black Women in the Americas and how they were seen while simultaneously allowing me the agency of self-representation to confront perceptions of my own identity.”
Their artistic practices explore notions of temporality and ideas of how history impacts individual and shared futures. Gaona’s incorporation of her body into the landscape speaks to her family history as well as feelings of isolation and loss, “The body in relationship with the ruined buildings is a gesture that attempts to convey us to the past, showing us the decaying material as a concrete reminder of the passage of time. The ruined buildings suspended in time and history are critical nodes in understanding the Texas and Mexico borderlands.”
Similarly, Cadungog uses her body as a mode for recollection and personal narrative, creating cyanotypes on quilts that analyze dualities of the female body, sexualization, and personal experiences with violence and intimacy. “Here on these quilts, violence and tenderness coexist. Quilts are objects of comfort designed to protect the body in its most vulnerable state: sleep; but the quilting process is inherently violent as it consists of repeatedly and deliberately piercing fabric. Furthermore, bodies resting on these quilts are disrupted by invasive embellishments. Despite these embellishments, the quilt still functions as an object of comfort, providing a resting place for the bodies,” states Cadungog. Her textiles physically example these explorations, giving a tactility and immediacy that emphasizes both the personal and physical components of her artistic practice.
Where We Are is an exploration and activation of a gray space that breaks down dichotomies and boundaries instated by race, gender, sex, history and politics. Through the use of their bodies as subject matter, Cadungog, Gaona and Robertson activate this gray space, allowing their work to tell both personal, yet ultimately universal narratives.
Opening: March 13, 2020 | 6–9 pm
1953 Montrose Boulevard
Houston, 77006 TX
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