This show features textile portraits of three of the Street Gems’ team members – individuals who have known chronic homelessness – and whom I’ve come to know well after working with them for over two years. The work includes intimate embroidery portraiture and large scale pieced textile portraits, the latter being assembled from clothing that was deemed unworthy of distributing to the clients of the Human Services Campus, the largest facility serving people experiencing homelessness in Phoenix. Creating these portraits through arduous but meditative textile techniques reveals individuals in both intimate and grand scale that would otherwise be
unnoticed, even invisible. By using cast-off clothing, and labor intensive techniques to create these portraits, they are naturally imbued with the history of all those that once wore and touched the fabric incorporated in this work – and given form through my own touch. The materials of these faces still carry a collective energy from the broader community – a collective consciousness that one day may gather the will to decide that homelessness in our society is no longer acceptable.
The large scale portraits were supported by the 2014 Arizona Commission on the Arts Artist’s Research and Development Grant.
Curated by Ted Decker
In his site-specific installation for the Project Room at Eye Lounge, Cory Slawson references late 1960s Optical Art (Op Art) which uses optical illusions that, when viewed, give the impression of movement, hidden images, flashing and vibration, patterns, or alternatively, of warping or swelling. Slawson conflates this style with personal responses and life experiences and a life-long fascination with the balancing of tension in the liminal space of life and death. This work centers on the cult goddess Santa Muerte (Saint Death). Slawson’s visual production is idea and research driven, visually engaging, and demonstrates increasing technical/formal elements and ability.
New oil paintings by Abbey Messmer
This body of work began as photographs on a night swim in the desert, capturing white flesh suspended in still darkness. At it’s essence, it’s simple and quiet work that has evolved into questions about the unknown, like the deep sea or the void between celestial bodies. What is life, who are we and what is our personal truth. I don’t believe in god but I do believe we have been offered an amazing experience to live on planet earth and through contrast we find momentary understanding. Like Francis Bacon said, “In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.”