With a new administration in the White House that embraces demagoguery, political slight of hand and a crackdown upon people of color and women across the nation, the political raison d’être has been to resist. In times of uncertainty and moral turbidity, it is also commonplace for artists of every stripe, stature and medium to stand shoulder to shoulder against such injustice. This impulse – and in response to Women’s Month and the highly visible Women’s March on Washington that took place in January – drove Revolution Gallery owners Craig and Maria LaRotonda to conceive of We Are The Resistance!
The exhibit draws upon nationally recognized and local artists alike who speak toward the theme of embodied resistance through the presence the female body. Through the exhibit women’s bodies can be seen reproduced within photographs and refracted under opaque layers of charcoal, but the presence of the bodies of women within the exhibit also equally resist definition through figurative obfuscation and reflect not only the anxieties of the artists, but the anxieties of our socio-political fever dream.
Work within the exhibit telegraphs archetypes of femininity and womanhood; Barbara Hart’s Woman and Boat depicts a woman as a wooden doll, whose features not only recall the work of Marisol, but whose blank gaze is equal parts steely reserve and defeat. There is also the woman-as-heroine with Joe Vollan’s Fate of the Kraken where a woman is both ensnared and in the process of defeating a looming monster, whose yellow eyes peer our from some long forgotten lagoon. Anta Kunz’s Leda and the Swan takes a more traditional tack, illustrating the titular Greek myth, however her Leda is imbued with curlicue tattoos across bicep and torso, calling to mind the Millennial ingenue Lena Dunham.
While this exhibit encapsulates a particular and peculiar moment in our civic discourse, it should be noted that the concerns of women have long existed and have been little met long before the current occupant of the Oval Office. It is through exhibits such as these, 10% of whose proceeds will be donated to Planned Parenthood, that tend the embers of artistic discourse and societal responsibility long after the fiery marches and speeches are relegated to memory, and far beyond what any one person can do to tear it asunder.
We Are The Resistance! runs through April 29, 2017. Revolution Gallery will be holding a closing reception for the exhibit on April 29, featuring a live performance titled Synthetic Eyes featuring Night Slaves and Brian Milbrand. Tickets can be purchased at revolutionartgallery.com/events. Revolution Gallery is located at 1419 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14216.