Opening Reception: Friday, September 28, 6-8 pm
Drawings and Photographs
“After 35 years as a photographer I have returned to my first love, drawing. Photography involves a collaboration, mediated through technology, between the photographer and subjects in the world while drawing is the shortest possible circuit among eye, brain and hand. I enjoy both modes of expression and problem-solving and relish their differences. The photographs of toy horses (“Being & Riding” series) were made in the mid-1990s. I was interested in recapturing the mystery, beauty and power I’d felt in childhood as I played with my model horse collection, creating fantasies about being a horse as well as having a horse. Twenty years later, my colored pencil drawings explore more overtly queer historical and autobiographical sources, including diverse artists and pop culture expressions that continue to move me, the weird and scary political times we live in, and my life-long fascination with certain gender signifiers, particularly shoes, hats and neckties.”
Deborah Bright’s career as a photographer brought international recognition with exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Fogg Museum, Harvard; Smithsonian Museum, DC; ArtSpace, New Haven; Leslie-Lohman Museum, New York; Artists Space, New York; Art in General, New York; Katonah Museum of Art, New York; Bernard Toale Gallery, Boston; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Schwules Museum, Berlin; Museet for Fotokunst, Copenhagen; Nederlands Foto Instituut, Rotterdam; Museum Folkwang, Essen; Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa; Vancouver Art Gallery. Her works are included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian; Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA;, Leslie-Lohman Museum, NYC, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; Boston Athenaeum; Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University; Binghamton University Art Museum; California Museum of Photography, Riverside and the RISD Museum of Art.
Bright has received numerous grants, fellowships and awards including a Research Fellowship in Photography/Media Studies from Plymouth University; Artist in Residence, CEPA Gallery, Buffalo; Mary Ingraham Bunting Fellowship, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; David and Reva Logan Award for writing on photography and grants from the Massachusetts Arts Council, New England Foundation for the Arts, Art Matters, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Bright serves on the board of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York.
"Comics are the bastard love-child of art and writing. What’s more fun than that? Also, all the tools of the trade are small and easy to shoplift.
My work is dark and irreverent with sly humor. I tell the stories that I’m interested in reading, and I give voice to my experience of seeing the world as an outsider. My perspective is female, queer, and mongrel (Lebanese-American). The work often explores how gender, sexuality, race and class imprint characters and their actions.
Behind all the artspeak is simply this — I want to tell compelling stories."
Jennifer Camper is a cartoonist and graphic artist. Her books include “Rude Girls and Dangerous Women” and “subGURLZ”, and she edited two “Juicy Mother” comics anthologies. Her work appears in numerous publications, comic books, and anthologies, and has been exhibited internationally. She is the founding director of the biennial Queers & Comics Conference.
Shaman Super Hero
“My work has always been about weaving the different layers of who we are into one identity. The use of found objects has lent itself to be a perfect metaphor for this exploration. Each string, wire, ribbon, broken figure, and button allows for the “unknown other” to become part of the new object.
After many hours of playing super hero with my grandchildren, it struck me how powerful these characters are to them. I remember my daughter as a child having the same fascination for the feeling that she was bigger and stronger than anyone who would have challenged her. Then it dawned on me, that in these really bad times, we all need to be super heroes.
Thus, Shaman Super Hero was born. She pulls all the powers of the Universe together to create her cape, shield, mask and helmet. She keeps her eyes on both the seen and unseen world. Being able to see and understand it all, she uses her super powers to shine a light of truth on these insane times. Most of all she is the champion for all those warrior women who have always fought on the side of good against evil.”
Jeanne-Marie Crede is a self taught mixed medium artist who has lived in the Boston area for the past 40 years. She has shown in galleries, museums and other venues all over New England. She currently works out of the Vernon Street Studios in Somerville, MA.
"I create personally meaningful art that combines careful craft with conceptual integrity. My work often consists of arranged collections of everyday objects, presented in some sort of container so that it makes a statement. It’s a mash-up of social activism, conceptualism, storytelling and autobiography.
The dolls started as a way to process the deteriorating toys rescued from my mom’s attic into art so that they could be thrown away without guilt. Over the course of that effort some of the pieces turned into portraits of people I know and others turned into social commentary dealing with issues around the ways American culture represents and shapes the “ideal female”.
Not long after finishing the initial doll painting series, I lost my breasts in a brief but intense battle with cancer. By choosing not to go through reconstruction, I suddenly found myself as “exhibit A” on the topic of cultural impositions on women going too far. The dolls, with their distortions, seams, and cultural symbolism, came back in a whole new body of work that is more active and purposeful than ever before."
Thedra Cullar-Ledford, the only child of two struggling artists, was born in Abilene, Texas, later moved to Mexico City and then to Eagle Pass, a dusty little noplace on the Texas/Mexico border. At just 16, she was emancipated in order to move to Dallas by herself to attend the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. From there, she received a full scholarship to California College of the Arts where she met her Stephen on the very first day. They were married by age 21. She received a BFA cum laude in painting and then attended the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford University in the UK for a masters in printmaking and sculpture. The family moved 16 times in 20 years before settling in Houston to establish her practice and build Independence Art Studios which provides studio spaces to other Houston artists. They have two sons (23 and 15), a dog, two cats, and six chickens.
“Thedra has been one of the biggest personalities and presences on the Houston scene for over a decade. A quintessential bad girl, her humorously aggressive feminist statements and explorations of the perversity of Texas’ masculinist iconography have been widely exhibited and collected. She uses the familiar deformities of plastic doll bodies to speak to the way girls are indoctrinated into their social roles.” Bill Arning, Executive Director, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Things got real in 2013 when, in her attempt to donate a kidney to a friend, she was found to have breast cancer and required a double mastectomy. Suddenly she found herself learning a sociopolitical landscape in which a largely male medical establishment was telling women patients what to do, think, and feel about their bodies. She encountered a community of like-minded breast cancer activists who, in the her words, felt no compunction to reconstruct their bodies to erase their post-surgery differences and thereby allow others ‘the freedom to not think about cancer.’”
“I think as I get further from the intensity of being in the moment of dealing with cancer, it becomes more and more abstract. I can still talk about breast cancer specifically, but I think my work will go back to the same theme I’ve talked about for a while — cultural impositions on women — with unreconstructed breast cancer survivors like myself being Exhibit A of things gone too far.”
Formation (digital video, 2018) combines magical symbols, and rituals related to the transcending of binaries and the interlocking of elements necessary for the organization of a future culture better prepared to operate in a universe of entirely fluid boundaries. Watching it is an active love-war.
Heather Kapplow is a natural-born witch of full Askhenazi blood. She is a self-trained conceptual artist based in the United States. She creates engagement experiences that elicit unexpected intimacies using objects, alternative interpretations of existing environments, installation, performance, writing, audio and video. Her work has received government and private grants and has been included in galleries, film and performance festivals in the US and internationally.
Tales of an Awkward Childhood
Blake Kidder grew up in California with artist parents, and began drawing and painting at a young age. A quintessential child of the 80’s heavily influenced by television, skateboarding, pop culture and bad haircuts.
Blake’s art abilities combined with her fear of being broke and alone, led her to a career in advertising. She graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena as an advertising major, but she took elective courses in art, photography and film and honed in her painting skills under the instruction of The Clayton Brothers and other notable alumni instructors.
Blake leans towards creating lowbrow art stemming from personal experiences and absurdities of life, often searching for humor in her own personal traumas. Even though she’d rather be a full-time artist, advertising in many ways has pushed the envelope of her personal art as she sees it as an outlet, the ability to tell stories and create ideas she wants to create, without a client saying “no" or “make the logo bigger."
Blake has lived and worked in Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Boston & Brasil. She currently lives in NYC with her favorite human, dog and cat.
This work is inspired by my love of the jungle. Hang it. Stretch it. Wear it.
Shelly Mars is a multimedia performance artist whose work explores sexuality and power using an expanding catalog of created personae. An originator of 80s/90s queer performance culture, she is recognized as a pioneer of contemporary.
Mars has performed over 15 solo shows, including Sex on Mars, Invasion from Mars, and The Homo Bonobo Project, her quixotic multimedia performance piece studying the sexuality of the Bonobo apes, which has been performed at NYU, Performa, and the Brooklyn Museum.
She was awarded a New York State Council on the Arts grant in 2010, along with grants from the Arcus Foundation, the Gill Foundation, and the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art. She was an Artist in Residence at Museum of Sex from 2002-2009, and has led workshops on solo performance at Harvard and Brown universities.
Credited as the first “drag king”, Mars has been featured in several documentaries on the subject including the HBO television special Drag Kings, and the independent film Venus Boyz. A feature length documentary about Mars, The Dark Matter of Mars, premiered at New York City’s NewFest in 2006.
In 2017, Mars released “From Mars”, a series of high quality prints documenting seminal moments in her performance work, along with lithographs inspired by The Homo Bonobo Project. Her next multimedia performance piece is currently in development and will incorporate these images, as well as a chimerical video works.
"...a Fantasy of Help from a White God"
“...a Fantasy of Help from a White God” opens a space of reflection on contemporary mythology regarding race. As a filmmaker, Dana Moser makes frequent use of digital compositing in work that blurs the lines between documentary, comedy and journalistic observation. He also makes kinetic sculpture and installations using custom software and algorithmic processes.
Dana Moser is a musician and digital artist working in film, installation and sculpture. Since the 1980’s, he has has been making irreverent art that addresses contemporary political issues in a variety of forms and media. In the early days of the World-Wide-Web he created the groundbreaking website “Adult Children of Heterosexuals”, named after the queer cabaret performance troupe of which he was a founding member. He’s also been active as a curator, producing exhibitions in new media in numerous venues. He teaches at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston in the Studio for Interrelated Media Department.
Berliner Luft: Women of Berlin during the Weimar Republic, 1918 to 1933 | Sculptures and photographs
“After a lifelong fascination with Berlin during the Weimar period, and after extensive research, I wanted to represent in papier-mâché sculpture some of the specific types of prostitutes, lesbians, and showgirls who made up the scene of that divine, decadent city. I also created sculptures of real-life women who existed then, such as Josephine Baker, Kiki de Montparnasse, and Anita Berber. During that time, the air in Berlin (Berliner luft) was said to contain a toxic ether that attacked the central nervous system and brought out underlying suppressed passions, making everyone horny, and sexual “perversity” prevailed.
To make my “girls,” I used newspaper and copper wire, followed by paper towel, my own secret glue mixture, acrylic paint, matte medium, and many layers of two kinds of special varnish. After each girl was finished, I photographed her extensively in various erotic poses, and created a slideshow. Mel Gordon’s wonderful book The Voluptuous Panic was a huge source of inspiration and information for the creation of my Berliner Luft girls.”
Carole Ramer is a lifelong New Yorker, with the exception of a year and some months spent in Berlin during the 1980s. She works as a professional hair stylist and makeup artist in fashion and advertising as well as with individual clients. She has always considered her work to be more artistic than commercial, sculpting with hair and painting with makeup, and as an artist she is self-taught, inventing her own techniques and methods as she goes. Currently she is working on a series of dioramas depicting a similar world to that inhabited by her “girls,” including a lesbian bar, a brothel, a cabaret, a “luxury class” nightclub, and a street where prostitutes congregate and work.