The artist will host two special events during the Friday, June 16th opening reception.
At 6:15pm, Malena Barnhart will begin a durational performance featuring fellow artist, Kristen Schneider and an excessive pile of temporary tattoos. During this physical performance, Barnhart and Schneider will play with notions of mother-daughter dynamics, bridal adornment rituals and the role of female relationships within the enculturation process.
Gallery visitors are also invited to engage with Barnhart’s interactive work, Mansplaining Help Desk. Functioning as an actual help desk staffed by Grant Vetter and Jeff Kronenfeld, this piece will be open from 6-10pm, throughout the reception.
In American mass culture, women are treated as both bait and prey. Their bodies function as tempting lures, effective for selling just about anything. Yet as consumers, they are expected to make purchasing decisions based on shiny packaging and their own perceived inadequacies.
From fairy tales to wedding boards on Pinterest, women are presented with an endless supply of beautiful things. Beauty itself is not problematic, but encouraging its association with value and status often makes girls yearn to become beautiful things themselves. Instead of seeking out aesthetic experiences, girls end up wishing to become the object of someone else’s.
Malena Barnhart uses found cultural ephemera such as children’s stickers and imagery from photo decorating phone apps to make work. Her chosen materials are not inherently harmful, yet in accumulation can limit notions of possibility for young girls. Her sticker collages and digital illustrations retain the brightly-colored visual enticement of the original material, but slightly discomforting forms emerge from within her compositions. Stickers transform into animal restraints and cages, while found digital imagery multiplies and builds up into web-like obstructions resembling organic growth systems.
Malena Barnhart is an Arizona-based artist who was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She holds an MFA degree in photography from Arizona State University and a BA in studio art from the University of Maryland. Through repurposing mass-culture materials including YouTube videos, children’s stickers and party decorations, her work examines the role enculturation plays in the marginalization of women. Her artwork has recently been exhibited at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (Arizona,) the Israeli Cinema Museum, Morrison Gallery (University of Minnesota) and the Hartman Center Gallery (Bradley University, Peoria.)
The exhibition will run from June 16th to July 16th. The artist will host an opening reception on Friday, June 16th from 6 – 10 pm and be in the gallery for First Friday on July 7th, 2017. The show will also be on view during regular eye lounge hours and by special appointment.
eye lounge is located at 419 E Roosevelt Street in Phoenix. The gallery is open Fridays from 6 – 9 pm, Saturdays 1 – 5pm and Sundays 11am – 3pm and during MADE gift shop hours.