Evolving by Faith Rae
July 27 to August 25, 2022
Art Gallery is open Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Through creating art, I have transitioned towards self-acceptance. My work explores the process of coming out of my shell by forming and reconstructing my understanding of my identity. To examine and deconstruct my own queer existence through art lets me take control of the preconceived shame to empower my diversity. Painting, mixed media and installation have allowed me to explore my evolving identity and metaphorically analyze its ‘layers’ through a variety of media.
The works Defeated, Merely a dream, and Anxiety Waterfall use the technique of action painting and layered abstraction, which requires the spontaneous application of paint and media onto a surface. The layered pattern of each media is a metaphor that connects my alternating emotions from anxiety and depression to self-reflection and self-acceptance. The work, Defeated uses unconventional mediums like baby oil, drywall compound, wire, and hot glue to reference the debris built up over time from my internal demons.
Through mixed media and installation, my working process is versatile to express the complicated aspects of my identity. In my art installation Crumbling, I use surrealism by distorting photographs of my hands to create a new context about my emotional turmoil. Mixed media works such as Transformation, Blanket of Denial and Daily Queer use repurposed materials like a vintage binder holder, dried paint chips, sewn pieces of canvas and aluminum to bring new meaning to the work through unconventional materials. The artwork Daily Queer expresses the vulnerability of my daily emotions translated on canvas strips riveted on black aluminum. In comparison to my vulnerable emotions, aluminum is reflective and durable, becoming a metaphor for my artistic practice.
The sentiment of materials has significant importance to how I connect my art to my life as a queer person. The diptych Why am I? and Maybe I am? uses personal items like paint cloths and my grandma’s tea towels. The artwork Why am I? expresses the mental trauma of questioning myself. The piece is embedded with ink-stamped questions such as ‘Why am I struggling?’. The work examines the act of how I reuse negative thought patterns, in comparison to how I reuse my art materials. Maybe I am? uses my grandma’s tea towels that are embedded with ink statements like ‘I am valid’. The artwork reflects the safe space I have with my family to feel valid as a queer person.
I integrated an audio piece and installation The Opened Closet in a separate space from the exhibition because I want to be transparent about my identity. I wanted to create an intimate experience between myself and the viewer, by speaking to each participant through audio in the space. There are casual undertones used in the construction of the installation by removing the curtain between the exhibition and the installation, as a metaphor of an ‘opened closet.’
Being queer is something I identified with from an early age; however, I was always uncertain of my future as a queer woman. The exhibition displays my development, from experiences of internal shame, fear, and anxiety to the comfort I now feel by acknowledging the truth of my identity. Through art, I have been able to accept myself proudly as a queer individual, and instead of fearing my future, I am motivated.