CRIP PAINT POWER: REPRESENTATION AS A FEMINIST ACT
@ Gallery 400
400 S. Peoria St, Chicago, IL 60607
Opening Tuesday, March 29th, from 3PM - 4:30PM
On view through Saturday, March 12th
CRIP PAINT POWER: REPRESENTATION AS A FEMINIST ACT
Open Studio and Discussion with 2022 3Arts/Bodies of Work Residency Fellow Genevieve Ramos
Tues, March 29
Free event, registration required
Access info: CART, ASL, and image description will be provided. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-355-7050 with any other requests.
Suggested Materials: Any art materials you have available, like paints, markers, colored pencils, pens, glue, paper, canvas, cardboard, or found objects.
About the Event: This open studio welcomes students, staff, faculty, and community members for a conversation and creative session with artist Genevieve Ramos, a disabled Latina whose portraiture centers women of color with disabilities. This space is open to all– join us to think through the identities we embody and the power behind representation while making art!
Artist Bio: Genevieve is a visual artist, focusing on acrylics on canvas. She is also an advocate and activist of her intersecting identities, Genevieve believes that the personal is political, and the very personal is art. She paints many portraits, with surreal and abstract themes, drawn from her personal experience of being a Mexican-American woman with disabilities. Genevieve has participated in various group exhibitions, gallery shows and creates commissioned paintings. She has also earned her Associate’s Degree in Arts and graduated from Northeastern Illinois University in 2021 with her Bachelor’s degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexually Studies.
ID: Bold block letters outlined in red on a pale pink background read “Crip Paint Power,” and in bold red text below, “Representation as a Feminist Act.” Additional event details appear in red and black text next to a painting by Genevieve Ramos and a photo of the artist in a scalloped frame. The painting shows a person wearing a crown of flowers on black hair, and their face is cropped just below two eyes looking down with thick lashes and eyebrows that meet in the middle. Genevieve is a smiling Mexican-American woman with curly shoulder length hair that is dark with red dye at the ends. She is wearing oversized hot pink earrings and a black top with an x detail across the chest. She holds a paintbrush in her hand.
Crip* is a group exhibition featuring artists who address disability and intersectional thinking. Some of the artists identify as disabled; some do not, but each has a relationship to (at least one) non-normative identity. Often artists are expected to “perform” their identities for the art world through imaging themselves. On one hand this diversifies the art world; but on another hand this, in fact, pigeonholes artists with non-normative identities, strengthens the distinction between normative and non-normative, and reduces the rich and complex knowledge gained through lived experience to a more flattened and singular interpretation.
The artists in Crip* are attuned to the concepts that exist beyond the reach of simplified identity distinctions or interpretations. For example, Emilie Gossiaux’s work is informed by her hearing loss and vision loss, but what drives her work is a broad interest and deep understanding of communication, interdependence, and the connection between sense and memory. Her sensory ability provides her with a unique vantage point, but is not limiting, and Gossiaux is not interested in producing work that can be reduced to simply imagining her specific sensory composition.
Alison O’Daniel’s expansive project The Tuba Thieves utilizes O’Daniel’s understanding of sound both through her access to it and through her awareness of its absence due to her hearing loss. Scene 55 The Plants Are Protected beautifully relies on the generative space of translation. In fact, O’Daniel created her cinematic visuals based on sound scores produced by five different composers; the Deaf sound artist Christine Sun Kim produced the sound score for scene 55. Through O’Daniel’s project we are able to reconsider the rich and liminal space formed between absence and presence.
Crip* references Crip Theory, which was coined by professor, writer, and theorist Robert McRuer in his book Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability, published in 2006. McRuer describes how compulsory heteronormativity and compulsory able-bodiedness rely on non-normal bodies and identities to exist. Normativity is essentially held in place, and defined by, all of the things that “it is not.” Non-normative identities are shaped around and against normativity and are required to remain non-normative in order to preserve normative continuity. Where earlier disability studies theorized and constructed a somewhat singular disabled identity, Crip Theory has sought to utilize productive aspects of that identity while resisting its limitations, primarily to forge connections and networks across multiple identity distinctions. Similarly, the artists in Crip* take on and push against rigid identity distinctions by presenting complicated works that resist reduction. It is impossible to interpret a work like Brontez Purnell’s Pillow Fight without taking into account his identities as a Black person, as a gay man, as a person who is HIV positive, as well as the gentrification that plagues San Francisco. All parts of Pillow Fight are interconnected and resist singular and incomplete approaches. Crip* also includes work by Liz Barr, Shannon Finnegan, Max Guy, Christopher Robert Jones, Carly Mandel, Darrin Martin, Berenice Olmedo, and Carmen Papalia & Heather Kai Smith.
The artists in Crip* utilize a new vocabulary to articulate variations of ability and experience. They delineate between the empowering and useful aspects of identity that facilitate dialogue and the constraining or limiting aspects that extinguish it. The exhibition thus fractures and reassembles how we think about identity within the framework of our culture. Reverberations between the works ask us to redefine and question our own ingrained thinking about what it means to move through a world that both rejects and capitalizes on experiences that are not perceived as normal.
Curated by Liza Sylvestre, Curator of Academic Programs, Krannert Art Museum
Liz Barr, Shannon Finnegan, Max Guy, Christopher Robert Jones, Carly Mandel, Darrin Martin, Berenice Olmedo & Carmen Papalia and Heather Kai Smith.
Co-organized with Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where the exhibition is on view September 23-December 11, 2021.
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