NURTUREart is pleased to present, (Social) STATUS: UPDATE, curated by students from Juan Morel Campos High School with Allison Peller and featuring artists Tyler Bohm, Maria de Los Angeles, Wojciech Gilewicz, Kay Gordon, and Yeimi Salazar. Through the curatorial process, we—the students of Project Curate at Juan Morel Campos High School—explore the ways in which inequality is created and perpetuated through preconceived notions of social status based on a person’s ethnicity, nationality, occupation, wealth, and other circumstances. These divisions continue to be enforced and are considered to be the norm. The artworks included in this exhibition challenges and inspires viewers to break the boundaries between social classes. It’s time for an update!
In Almost Utopia, artist Tyler Bohm shapes the easily recognizable Facebook thumbs-up out of tiny model train figures, alluding to social media’s strong influence on how we view social status. His use of the thumb imagery underscores how the number of likes, views, or endorsements an individual receives across their social media platforms is a driving force behind people’s thoughts, actions, and presentation of themselves as they strive to receive more and more “likes.”
I Love America Dress, by Maria de Los Angeles, represents two levels of social status. The sculpture is an actual dress, reflecting how clothes and what people choose to wear frequently affects how their social status is perceived. De Los Angeles’s use of the American flag, also reflects the question of national identity, and how being an American citizen, immigrant, or undocumented immigrant can raise or lower your status.
Social status is also frequently linked to labor. Wojciech Gilewicz’s video piece, Residency Unlimited, looks at jobs that may be considered menial, such as cleaning or construction, and are sometimes the only positions available for immigrants. The video follows the artist and documents his frequently awkward interactions with others while he cleans an art space.
Kay Gordon’s Impermeable (Raincoat for Katrina), looks at how wealth and social status can affect others, particularly in times of crisis. Made out of newspaper clippings that reported on the devastating results of Hurricane Katrina, the implausible raincoat made out of paper, highlights how inadequate the measures for protecting and helping those without economic means during disasters are.
Soft, fabric sculptures that represent a simplified human form, ranging in various skin tones, gather together in Yeimi Salazar’s site-specific installation, EveryBODY. The various figures sit or stand together, some even hugging, and invite the viewer to join in. By eliminating facial features and gender, Salazar has stripped everything away, to reveal that despite differences in ethnicity and skin tone, at the most basic level we are all the same. If we would only strip down the boundaries we have built, we could all join in community together.
Allison Peller is an independent curator based in Brooklyn, NY. She has curated multiple exhibitions in New York and Minnesota, including Ornamentation of the Joint, Pfizer Building, Brooklyn, NY; The (Sacred) Void, First Things Editorial Office, NYC; and Visual Inheritance, Olson Gallery, St. Paul, MN. In addition, she has project managed numerous exhibitions, including New. New York, Essl Museum, Vienna, and Incarnational Aesthetics, NYCAMS Gallery, NYC. She received her MA in curatorial practice from the School of Visual Art, NYC, and her BA in art history from Bethel University, St. Paul, MN.
Tyler Bohm is a new media artist who spent several years working in the architectural industry, where he adopted the tools and techniques of digital and physical modeling to create digitally-inspired sculptural, video and hybrid works. The resulting process, which involves traditional approaches such as painting mediated through a range of design technologies, is reflective of the technological themes explored in the work. In recent years, he has held solo exhibitions at the OSU Urban Arts Space in Columbus and the NEIU Fine Arts Center Gallery in Chicago, and participated in group shows at Trestle Gallery (Brooklyn), NURTUREart (Brooklyn), Terrault Contemporary (Baltimore), Icebox Project Space (Philadelphia), Boston Cyberarts Gallery, Weston Art Gallery (Cincinnati), Gallery Madison Park (New York), Proto Gallery (Hoboken, NJ), and the Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY). He is a Greater Columbus Arts Council Visual Arts Fellowship finalist. He is a graduate of Kenyon College and lives in Columbus.
Maria de Los Angeles (b.1988, Michoacán, Mexico) is multidisciplinary artist primarily working with drawing and painting. De Los Angeles addresses migration, displacement, identity and otherness through incorporating drawing, painting, performance art and fashion. She holds an associate’s degree in painting from Santa Rosa Junior College (2010), a BFA from Pratt Institute (2013), and a MFA from Yale School of Art (2015). De Los Angeles has been recognized for the work she has done creating arts programs for youth, receiving the Community Action Partnership award, and the Blair Dickinson Memorial Prize, awarded for her artwork and role in her community. She was an artist in residence at El Museo del Barrio and Mana Contemporary. Recent exhibitions include Solo at Schneider Museum of Art, Internalized Borders at John Jay College, Citizen at St. John’s University, and Half Human at The Clemente. Her work is currently on view in the exhibition A Universal History of Infamy: those of this America curated by Vincent Ramos, She is co- curator for Internalized Borders.
Wojciech Gilewicz (b. 1974, Bilgoraj, Poland) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan (1994-1996) and then in Warsaw, where in 1999 he earned a degree in painting (with an additional degree in photography). Lives and works in Warsaw and New York. He is a painter, photographer, author of installations and videos. In his works, which usually combine all these disciplines, Gilewicz explores the blurring of distinctions between reality and its artistic representation. Gilewicz’s practice invites a reflection on the mechanisms governing our perception and on the cultural determinants of the way we see things.
Kay Gordon works in printmaking drawing, sculpture, and installation. Formal composition creates a framework for revealing subconscious concerns, fears and dreams. Recent work esponds to the violence, and ensuing tragedy, of current political, religious, and natural events/ human-created events. Kay has shown internationally, and is in private collections in Berlin, Caracas, and the US. Upcoming exhibitions include a two-person show at Millersville University with collaborator Maya Pindyck, and a solo installation at The Space Station—This Friday or Next Friday Gallery in Brooklyn. Forthcoming publications include “Neurons/ Deterritorializing” in Capacious: Journal for Emerging Affect Theory and “Bookboats/ Wave” in Capilano Review. Kay studied painting with Lennart Anderson at Brooklyn College, mixed media with Eugene Brodsky & drawing with Catherine Redmond at the Arts Students League, and printmaking with Mahbobe Ghods at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Yeimi Salazar is a Brooklyn based multidisciplinary artist whose creative practice incorporates elements of installation, sculpture, and stop motion animation. Born in Medellín, Colombia, she earned her bachelors degree in her native country in 2003, from Universidad Nacional de Colombia and later she moved to New York where she graduated from an M.F.A in Arts from Brooklyn College in 2014. Her work is increasingly characterized by a disarmingly inviting and humorous aesthetic which masks the intensely emotional nature of her subject matter. This interest grows out of a larger commitment within her work to expose the vulnerability and ambiguity of human existence; themes that she has previously applied to home, family and political violence. Her installations contains silent pages of the memoirs, specific days and times of a diary that doesn’t exists; They incorporate deposits waiting to be retrieved inside a space impossible to narrate, to date, to explain. She is particularly drawn to the tactile qualities of materials and explores the construction of spaces which encourage the spectator to endure some form of isolation within a comfortable, yet defamiliarized environment.
featured image 1: Yeimi Salazar, EveryBODY, 2018, site-specific soft sculpture installation, dimensions variable.
featured image 2: Kay Gordon, Impermeable (Raincoat for Katrina), 2005, newspaper (reporting on Hurricane Katrina and Michael D. Brown, Former Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency), thread, matte medium, polyurethane, 63 x 34 x 12 inches.