East Gallery / Shalene Valenzuela
West Gallery / Jeannie Hulen
Reception: January 21 / 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Lecture / Panel Discussion: February 13 / 5:00 to 7:30 pm
Shalene Valenzuela : Follow the PatternMy ceramic sculptures reflect upon a variety of issues with a thoughtful, yet humorous and ironic tone. I am inspired by the potential of everyday common objects. I reproduce these objects primarily through slip-casting, and illustrate the surfaces with a variety of hand-painted and screenprinted imagery. My narratives explore topics ranging from fairytales, urban mythologies, consumer culture, societal expectations, etiquette, and coming-of-age issues. Stylistically, much of my imagery is pulled from somewhat "dated" sources that I find represent an idealized time in society and advertising. Such gems include instructional guides, cookbooks, old advertisements, and old family photos. Beneath the shiny veneer of these relics hides a complex and sometimes contradicting truth of what things seem to appear as upon first glance.
So one may ask "Why clay? Why not just draw these images on paper, or on the actual objects?" One way of explaining my building aesthetic would be a form of trompe l’oeil with a twist. In using clay to transform my depicted common household/consumer items, I am again playing with the notion that things are not what they initially seem to be. Additionally, I care about the object being referenced and recognizable while maintaining my illustrative quality that is essential in completing the narratives and messages within the object.
Jeannie Hulen : Made in the U.S.A.
This work is increasingly personal and relates to a previous series of work, “Made in Taiwan”, critiquing the excessive consumerism inherent in capitalist systems. The work also challenges the status quo by taking part in the critical discussion of gender as related to “the personal,” through the use of mundane materials, hand-sewn components, personal imagery and family portraits. “Cute” ribbons and toys are employed in the work, capitalizing on the visual pleasure, and using the “prettiness” or “cuteness” to engage the viewer. Other visual elements play on gender conventions, through materials and cast objects marked as girl or boy. Marked objects are redefined by adding subtle references, masculine-zing pink, or enhancing the dual-gender purpose of yellow through object modification, creating trans-gendered objects. The sexualizing and politicizing of these children’s toys provokes uneasiness in the viewer after they have been seduced by the color and cuteness.
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