Desire on the Edge 

Panel Discussion: August 16th 6:30pm
Feminist Tea Party: September 16 6:30-9pm

Opening Reception: Thursday, August 11th 7-9pm
On view through September 16th, 2016

Guest Curated by Emma Katz & Megan Piontkowski

Featuring works by:
Heather Elizabeth Garland
Sandra Mack-Valencia
Tinuade Oyelowo
Aiden Simon
Jade Yumang

Desire on the Edge, curated by Emma Katz and Megan Piontkowski, features the work of a diverse group of artists, Heather Elizabeth Garland, Sandra Mack-Valencia, Tinuade Oyelowo, Aiden Simon, and Jade Yumang, whose work grapples with expressions of sexual desire. The exhibition proposes that desire, lust, and passion are seen as essential elements to sexual and romantic happiness. But when it comes to non-normative sexuality, how can we know what we desire when we live in a culture dominated by the heterosexual male viewpoint? If our desires are born under the influence of a repressive culture, is it still empowering to pursue them? And if not, what is the alternative and how do we live with the uncertainty?

The participating artists come to this topic from a broad range of viewpoints. Heather Elizabeth Garland uses found objects like ceramics and pantyhose to create sculptures that reflect on tension between the sweetness and the dark side of femininity. Tinuade Oyelowo mimics the dominant culture’s objectification of desired female body parts in order to reclaim the female (black) body and create a new, empowering beauty/value system. Sandra Mack-Valencia uses mythological figures to poke fun at outdated ideas about female sexuality. Aiden Simon’s delicate line drawings isolate moments of intimacy and tenderness in abstracted bodies. Finally, Jade Yumang’s work using so-called obscene material from a 1967 court case, examines the approved vs forbidden uses of male erotic photography and exposes the pressure placed on non-conforming bodies and their values.

In order to further explore these complex topics, Katz and Piontkowski have organized two companion events, a panel discussion and a session of Piontkowski’s recurring symposium, The Feminist Tea Party, to discuss the issues brought up by the exhibition. Speakers will touch on a variety of issues around sexuality with the goal of opening up a dialogue about desire and sexuality beyond how it is currently presented in mainstream culture.. Participants include writers Jessica Macado and Katrin Higher, artist Tinuade Oyelowo, and professor and artist Hồng-Ân Trương.