As a pioneer of Brooklyn youth culture and a multifaceted creative, Tayahna Walcott, professionally known as Talia Goddess, releases her newest self-produced single Poster Girl on all streaming platforms off her forthcoming, debut EP.
Talia Goddess is a nineteen-year-old multi-hyphenate creative: singer-songwriter, rapper, producer, DJ, model, and community leader. Poster Girl is the third single off an EP of the same name to be released in Fall 2021. This track, like the EP, serves as a time-capsule of her teenage/high school years and experiences with love, identity, sexuality, loss, and growth. It is a reflective body of work on where she was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually the songs’ creation span from 2018 to 2020, and it’s also a reflection of her growth as an artist and my journey of finding her sound and avenue. Of the track, she says:
“Poster Girl has been long in the making, written and produced by me, and explores a theme of coming into an identity as a public figure or “Poster Girl” whose exterior is adored and idolized by many but in reality, is only the surface level to who I am.”
Talia Goddess merges her many talents as a self-taught singer-songwriter, rapper, music, producer, DJ, model, creative entrepreneur, and community leader to galvanize the next generation of creatives and push culture forward. Co-signed by the likes of A$AP Ferg, at the forefront of global campaigns with Converse, Tommy Hilfiger, MCM and editorials with Vogue, Refinery29, i-D, the queer vocalist-rapper hybrid seeks to leave her mark in a tangible form, impacting people through the words and rhythms that ultimately mirror how they feel inside, but can’t find the words to adequately express.
Determined to not be confined by the bounds of societal pressures, industry standards, and social conditioning, Talia has cultivated her own identity and seeks to bring various forms of art and expression under one umbrella in an unconventional way. An alchemist of words, an astute leader and cultural innovator, Talia Goddess is determined to help foster a safe and inclusive space for queer, black people such as herself and redefine and challenge the norms and expectations placed upon youth.
Reese Sherman is a talented photographer who creates stunning portraiture. The photographer has been featured by the likes of Town & Country, Essence, Ambassador Digital Magazine, W Magazine, Muze, and more. The vibrant portfolio of Sherman’s evocative, striking, beautiful photographs can be viewed on their website or Instagram. Sherman looks to empower viewers with their photography and highlight gender-neutral inclusivity and LGBT+ acceptance. During this pride month, we sat down with the artist to discuss their latest photography project, which involves self-exploration, unity, and love.
Could you tell us about your photographic approach to this project?
This all came about during the BLM and Trans Lives Matter movement, where I was noticing so many people were standing up and showing up as themselves. Such an array of different people showed off their style and spoke loud and proud about who they are. [It] really inspired me to pick up my camera and shoot my husband wearing masculine clothes mixed with feminine jewelry against bright, bold and colorful backdrops. [These photos] showcase[ed] him being 100% comfortable within the style of art and fashion. I wanted to explore incorporating feminine elements within a masculine framework in a way that transcends sexuality. This is all about style and freedom and identity that goes beyond any pre-conceived category.
“This is all about style, freedom, and identity…” Was your model, Jamarr, a part of the creative process as well?
Jamarr is a creative individual… I love to collaborate with him and have him give his input into projects, especially this one, where we both styled the wardrobe and jewelry. Also having my husband a part of this, I wanted the story to stay true to his own authentic style, since his normal everyday accessory wear isn’t geared towards feminine pieces. But, styling him with a pink beaded necklace, yellow roses and eyeliner really took him out of his norm—but he was confident in wearing it all.
Did photographing your partner make this project more intimate/personal?
Absolutely! We just know each other so well to the point when we first started to talk about this project, we spoke about the issues the LGBTQ+ community was going through. The issues that the Black community was dealing with made this personal to us. Seeing Jamarr model and stay grounded in his sexuality was inspiring to me. This made us both proud of what we’re hoping to accomplish, which is gender-neutral inclusivity.
Some of your images are more detailed and some of them not, could you tell us what this mean/how you would like the viewers to interpret your photos?
I want the viewers to see timeless, intimate and non-conforming pictures. I want viewers to feel confident to do whatever is it that makes them happy. if you want to pile on a bunch of jewelry head-to-toe, do it! If you’re a man and you come across an accessory that is traditionally feminine, wear it and be proud! If you’re a woman, same thing applies, if you want to wear clothing that’s traditionally male. Be proud of how you present yourself. I just want people to feel empowered.
What is the most important component of this collection of work?
Two words: unity and love.
What is the most challenging component of this collection of work?
The challenge was putting this all together and hoping the result would match what we envisioned in our minds.
Could you comment on the styling of choice and what inspired you to choose these colors in particular? (Apart from the colors of the pride flag!)
The unapologetic energy of the model, the juxtaposition of the traditionally feminine jewelry against his body hair, the structured clothing made of shiny, flowing fabrics—they all promote the idea that masculinity is what you make it. Initially the pink just felt fun and exciting. Yellow felt like sun kissed skin plus it reminded us of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The orange/red was striking and sexy. And a lot of the jewelry was my grandmother’s, so that added an even more personal aspect to the work.
The Untitled Space is pleased to present “UNRAVELED: Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art” group show opening on April 17 and on view through May 28, 2021. Curated by Indira Cesarine, the exhibition will feature textile and fiber-based artworks by 40 contemporary women artists. “UNRAVELED: Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art” explores in depth the themes and techniques of the medium through the works of female-identifying artists working with natural and synthetic fiber, fabric, and yarn. The exhibition presents figurative and abstract works that address our lived experience and history through the lens of women weaving, knotting, twining, plaiting, coiling, pleating, lashing, and interlacing. Narratives of self-identification, race, religion, gender, sexuality, our shared experience, as well as protest and the patriarchy are literally “unraveled” through embroidery, felt, woven and hooked rugs, braided and sewn hair, sewn fabrics, discarded clothing, cross-stitching, repurposed materials and more.
Exhibiting Artists: Amber Doe, Carol Scavotto, Caroline Wayne, Christy O’Connor, Daniela Puliti, Delaney Conner, Dominique Vitali, Elise Drake, Elizabeth Miller, Hera Haesoo Kim, Indira Cesarine, Jamia Weir, Jody MacDonald, Julia Brandão, Kathy Sirico, Katie Cercone, Katie Commodore, Katrina Majkut, Katy Itter, Kelly Boehmer, Linda Friedman Schmidt, Lisa Federici, Marianne Fairbanks, Mary Tooley Parker, Melanie Fischer, Melissa Zexter, Mychaelyn Michalec, Mz Icar, Orly Cogan, Robin Kang, Rosemary Meza-DesPlas, Ruta Naujalyte, Sally Hewett, Sarah Blanchette, Sooo-z Mastopietro, Sophie Boggis-Rolfe, Stacy Isenbarger, Stephanie Eche, Victoria Selbach, and Winnie van der Rijn.
unravel [ uhn-rav-uhl ] to separate or disentangle the threads of (a woven or knitted fabric, a rope, etc.). to free from complication or difficulty; make plain or clear; solve: to unravel a situation; to unravel a mystery.
“UNRAVELED: Confronting the Fabric of Fiber Art” investigates the narratives of contemporary fiber artists. The exhibition brings together a diverse group of artists who each address through their own personal vision, materials, and methods, works that are deeply rooted in the history of feminism, in the intersection of art and craft, addressing our living experiences and personal languages. We live in a world of extremes – on one hand, the pandemic has brought forth an intensity on digital and online programming peaking with the emergence of NFT art, and on the opposite end of the spectrum we are seeing a return to the comforts of the home and along with it a renaissance of organic and handmade artworks that embody that spirit. The laborious and repetitive methods required to create one work of fiber art can take hundreds of hours, yet equally the creation process is often referred to as a mediative act of healing, allowing for an expressive personal and cultural interrogation.
Fibers have been an integral part of human civilization for thousands of years. Textile art is one of the oldest art forms, dating back to prehistoric times. Despite early works of textiles such as embroideries and tapestries having been made by both men and women, the tradition of textiles and needlework evolved into that of “women’s work” and was not only dismissed as not “important” but was literally banned from the high art world by the Royal Academy in the 18th century (circa 1769). With the rise of the women’s movement as well as technological advances, women reclaimed the medium, subverted its history as a lesser art form, and transformed it into a tool of expression, of protest, of personality. From early suffrage movement embroidered banners to the groundbreaking exhibitions and works of female pioneers such as Bauhaus weaver Anni Alber’s momentous solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1949, Lenore Tawney’s exhibition at the Staten Island Museum in 1961 to Judy Chicago’s groundbreaking 1979 work “The Dinner Party”, we have seen the medium evolve and inspire new generations of fiber artists.
“UNRAVELED: Confronting the Fabric of Fiber Art” explores this new wave of female-identifying artists who are using materials ranging from thread and yarn to human hair, fabrics, and discarded clothing, among a range of other components to unravel the “language of thread” with works that provoke and interrogate. Whether drawn from a deeply personal narrative, or rooted in political motivation, each artist weaves, spins, sews, and hooks the viewer with their detailed and intricate textures that communicate and empower. The exhibition presents two and three-dimensional pieces that explore with gravity and humor our contemporary culture, its beauty, flaws, and idiosyncrasies through murals, assemblages, fragile and gestural threads, meditative, and metaphorical fibers. “UNRAVELED: Confronting the Fabric of Fiber Art” pushes the boundaries, investigates ancient as well as new materials and techniques, and presents a contemporary universe of the language of women and their interwoven, progressive vocabulary.”– Curator Indira Cesarine
“To know the history of embroidery is to know the history of women.” – Rozsika Parker author of “The Subversive Stitch” (1984)
“I am a multimedia artist who uses sculpture and performance to bear witness to the experiences of black women even as American society aims to render us and our lives as invisible and meaningless. Despite the prevalent “urban black” narrative, my experience is tied to the natural world, and I use materials that reference my desert environment and my lived experience as a black woman with Indigenous roots.” – Artist Amber Doe
“I mix subversion with flirtation, humor with power, and intimacy with frivolity. My subject matter is frank and provocative, dealing with issues of fertility, sexuality, self-image, isolation, vulnerability, indulgence, and beauty in the mundane, which are designed to challenge social stereotypes embedded within childhood fairytales. My work explores the many flavors of feminism.” – Artist Orly Cogan
“I pull from my autobiography to illustrate stories of trauma, sexuality, intimacy, and growth. Detailed beading and cyclical patterning emphasize the consistent labor in the repetitive motion of handsewing, that which mirrors the emotional and psychic labor expended in order to manage the suffering a body can accumulate over time. My sculptures translate the life experience of a survivor of complex trauma through the lens of glittering beadwork in order to recount deeply traumatic stories for the same cultural collective that due to repression, denial, censorship and deliberate silencing…” –Artist Caroline Wayne
“This body of work scrutinizes the amalgamation of victim shaming tropes that men and women are taught throughout their lives, both passively and actively, through social norms, pop culture, our educational and legal systems, religious establishments, and familial influences and upbringing.” – Artist Christy O’Connor
“My work focuses on my personal experience living within the confines of a female body, exploring sexuality, religion, and body image. The shared narratives of childbirth, menstruation, dysmorphia, sexual violation, and societal scrutiny all come into play and find connections with the viewers in their shared commonality.” – Artist Dominique Vitali
“My textile works are hand-sewn, fabric based sculptural pieces made from recycled materials that have multiple uses as ritual talismans, wearables, ecstatic birth blankets, dreamcatchers and traveling altars”. – Artist Katie Cercone
“Discarded clothing is my paint. I give second chances to the worn, the damaged, the mistreated, the abandoned, the unwanted, and to myself. My emotional narrative portraits and figurative artworks examine the human condition through my own lived experience. The violence of cutting and deconstruction make way for the reconstruction and refashioning of a broken past.” – Artist Linda Friedman Schmidt
“We are drawn to the grand gesture, the loud assured voice, the bold move, the aggressive brush stroke. I celebrate the opposite: the small moments in our lives – the unremarkable… as Covid-19 took over, some of the things I was celebrating became even more pertinent; toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer. These objects became signs of hope, of safety, of comfort.” – Artist Melanie Fischer
ABOUT THE UNTITLED SPACE
The Untitled Space is an art gallery located in Tribeca, New York in a landmark building on Lispenard Street. Founded in 2015 by artist Indira Cesarine, the gallery features an ongoing curation of exhibits of emerging and established contemporary artists exploring conceptual framework and boundary-pushing ideology through mediums of painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video and performance art. The gallery is committing to exploring new ideas vis-à-vis traditional and new mediums and highlights a program of women in art. Since launching The Untitled Space gallery, Cesarine has curated over 40 exhibitions and has exhibited artwork by more than 450 artists. Her curatorial for The Untitled Space includes solo shows for artists Sarah Maple, Rebecca Leveille, Alison Jackson, Fahren Feingold, Jessica Lichtenstein, Tom Smith, Loren Erdrich, Kat Toronto aka Miss Meatface, Katie Commodore, and Jeanette Hayes among many others. Notable group shows include “Art4Equality x Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness” public art exhibition and group show presented in collaboration with Save Art Space, “IRL: Investigating Reality,” “BODY BEAUTIFUL,” “SHE INSPIRES,” Special Projects “EDEN” and “(HOTEL) XX” at SPRING/BREAK Art Show, and internationally celebrated group shows “UPRISE/ANGRY WOMEN,” and “ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE” responding to the political climate in America, as well as numerous other critically-acclaimed exhibitions. Recent press on Indira Cesarine & The Untitled Space includes Vogue (US), Vogue Italia, CNN, Forbes, Newsweek, W Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue, New York Magazine, i-D Magazine, Dazed and Confused, and The New York Times among many others.
*Featured image artwork by Victoria Selbach for UNRAVELED: Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art.
Artwork by Elise Drake, UNRAVELED Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art.
Artwork by Mary Tooley Parker, UNRAVELED Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art.
Chris Crowley is the author (with the late Henry S. Lodge, MD) of “Younger Next Year“, the New York Times bestseller, with over two million copies sold in twenty-three languages. A former Wall Street trial lawyer, Crowley’s debut work of fiction is “The Practical Navigator” now available everywhere books are sold.
Read below for an excerpt adapted from “The Practical Navigator,” a literary legal crime thriller.
July 1988, Broken Harbor
Harry’s death was utterly like him: orderly, decisive, and oddly considerate. He sailed to Maine without telling a soul—left a note saying he was going on a business trip but of course he wasn’t. He picked up his boat in Marion and sailed overnight to Broken Island, seven miles off the coast of Maine, near the Canadian border. It’s a big boat, over fifty feet, but it has all kinds of gadgets so it wasn’t hard for someone like Harry to do it alone. Actually, he wasn’t entirely alone. He had stopped at the New York apartment and picked up Gus, the big black Newfoundland, to keep him company on this . . . this journey, I guess. He got there late in the afternoon, furled the sails, and set the anchor with his usual care. Then he fed the dog and had something himself, down below. Put the dishes in the sink and opened a bottle of wine, which he took up into the cockpit. A very good bottle of wine, but he only had the one glass. It was a sacrament, I imagine; he didn’t really drink.
No one was there so I can’t tell, but it looks as if Harry sat there for quite a while, with Gus at his side. I see them with great clarity: there is Gus, with his huge head on Harry’s lap and Harry calmly looking around, his hands working the thick black fur around Gus’s neck and ears. Or I see them both, sitting up now, looking at the beach and that remarkable shoreline, the sun going down over the Cut. It is the loveliest place. Then he shuts Gus down below. One imagines the intimate business of getting Gus down the steps. Harry stands at the bottom of the companionway, and gets his arms around him (a face full of fur, legs every which way; Gus’s great face is interested but relaxed: they’ve done this a hundred times). Then he picks him up, all hundred pounds of him, and gently sets him down on the cabin sole. Sets out some water. Harry put him below because he didn’t want him to see. Or more likely, he was afraid the dog would jump in and try to save him, as Newfies are bred to do.
Then, after he had lowered the guardrail on the starboard side, he got the Camden marine operator to call the sheriff, Bud Wilkerson, over in Hanson, and told him what he was about to do. Hung up before Bud could say anything, but wanted him to know so he’d come out and get the dog. Then he put on his commodore’s cap—an old-fashioned hat with a small, shiny visor and a narrow crown, the kind worn in the Navy in World War I. Do you remember the photos of Admiral Sims? Like that. That was one of a number of affectations at the Great Arcadia Yacht Club of New York, Boston, and Mount Desert, of which Harry had recently been commodore. That and the pips, the four raised brass-and-enamel symbols of his rank on each epaulet. Then Harry sat down on the gunwale with his back to the water. And blew his brains out. Here’s an interesting thing. Just before he did it, he tied a float to his leg. When he shot himself, his body went over the side, as he intended. Not a drop of blood in the boat. But it floated. So my friend Bud wouldn’t have to dive for it when he got there. Imagine thinking of that, in the closing moments of your life. Well, Harry—my brother, Harry—had a weakness for order. More than a weakness, a passion.
He was a subtle man, entirely capable of making his way in a dark and uncertain world. But his great passion was for order. That was the real business of his life: not making an astonishing fortune as a very young man or becoming a cabinet officer, but preserving order. Against the sweet, dark pull of the Labyrinth, as it spins away, under the city, under our lives.
NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam facilitators publish open letter condemning anti-transgender legislation
The NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam, a group of NCAA- trained facilitators at colleges across the country published an open letter condemning the actions taken by 28 states across the country to introduce, pass, and sign anti-transgender legislation. 2021 has been a record year for anti-transgender legislation, with 93 anti-transgender bills introduced across the country, the vast majority of which attempt to ban transgender women and girls’ participation in girls’ sports or ban transgender youth from accessing medically necessary, gender-affirming health care.
Laws have been signed banning transgender women and girls’ participation in girls’ sports in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas, with Executive Orders being signed to the same effect in South Dakota. Legislators across the country have failed to provide examples of issues in their states to attempt to justify these attacks, laying bare the reality that these are attacks on transgender youth that are fueled by discrimination and not supported by fact. Collegiate and professional sports organizations have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident, and there is no reason any state would need a ban on transgender participation in sports.
An Open Letter in Support of Transgender Student-Athletes
We, the undersigned, are facilitators of the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s (NCAA)Division III LGBTQ OneTeam Program, which is a national training program that fosters LGBTQ+ inclusion in NCAA Division III athletics, and members of the NCAA’s Division III LGBTQ Working Group. Given the recent rise in legislation that is focused on excluding transgender people from athletics across the country, we have decided to use our collective voice to condemn such actions. We call on elected officials across the country to immediately halt legislation that is aimed at excluding transgender youth and young adults from equal and equitable participation in sport.
In our role with the NCAA’s LGBTQ OneTeam Program, we train coaches, athletics administrators, and student-athletes across the whole of Division III athletics. This program is aimed at helping to understand the importance of LGBTQ inclusion in college athletics, while also identifying strategies and best practices for institutions and conferences to better ensure that all student-athletes–regardless of their sexuality, gender identity, and/or gender expression–can participate in an inclusive and safe athletic climate. We cannot, in good conscience, fail to speak out at this critical moment.
In the past several weeks, actions–which are aimed at excluding transgender youth and young adults from equal and equitable participation in sport–have been taken by elected officials inseveral states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia. At the time of this writing, the Governors ofArkansas,Idaho,Mississippi, andTennessee have already signed such dangerous legislation into law.
Legislation aimed at categorically banning transgender people–and particularly transgender girls and women–from sport is inherently discriminatory. Such legislation is often “informed” by hate and misinformation rather than science, and it is most certainly “informed” byfear instead of fact. Conversely, trans-inclusive policies, such as those established by theNCAA and theInternational Olympic Committee (IOC), are better informed by the current scientific evidence, and this evidence shows that transgender women do not have an inherent competitive advantage over cisgender women.
Furthermore, discriminatory legislation that is aimed at excluding transgender people from sport has a number ofserious consequences for transgender students. Such legislation dehumanizes transgender students, refuses them the opportunity to participate equally and equitably in athletics, undermines their support in educational settings, damages their mental health, and ultimately harms these students, while also contributing to an exclusionary athletic environment and a more hostile school climate for all students.
We immediately call for 1) an end to such legislation in all states and 2) a repeal of such laws in Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, and Tennessee. And finally, we also encourage our legislators to better consider theNCAA best practices and importance of an inclusive athletic environment for all student-athletes.
Timothy R. Bussey, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | Kenyon College
Kayla Hayes, M.Ed.
Associate Head Women’s Basketball Coach Dept. of Athletics | Denison University
Kyrstin Krist, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Faculty Athletic Representative | Methodist University
Melynda Link, M.B.A.
Director of Athletic Facilities & Game Day Operations, Dept. of Athletics | Haverford College
Kathleen M. Murray
President, Office of the President | Whitman College
Assistant Athletic Director for Student Athlete Services & Internal Operations Dept. of Athletics | Bates College
Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Randolph-Macon College
Executive Director | Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC)
Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Fairleigh Dickinson University
Pronouns: no pronouns
Director of Athletics, Dept. of Athletics | Washington & Jefferson College
Danielle Lynch, M.S.Ed.
Senior Woman Administrator and Head Track and Field/Cross Country Coach Athletic Department | Penn State University – Harrisburg
Senior Associate Athletic Director Athletic Department | Albion College
Senior Woman Administrator and Head Women’s Basketball Coach Dept. of Athletics | Rochester Institute of Technology
The Untitled Space is pleased to present “Katie Commodore: Between Friends and Lovers” solo exhibition opening on November 21st, and on view through December 12, 2020. Curated by Indira Cesarine, “Katie Commodore: Between Friends and Lovers” debuts a series of large scale erotically charged figurative tapestries, created with detailed adornments and unique embroideries, along with a number of her signature portraits in gouache, miniature watercolor paintings on ivory, as well as works on paper including intaglio etchings, metallic foil cutouts, and photogravure prints. Katie Commodore is an interdisciplinary artist who concentrates on creating intimate portraits of her friends. In 2000 Commodore received her BFA in illustration from Maryland Institute College of Art. In 2004 she obtained her MFA in printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design where she is currently an adjunct professor.
“Katie Commodore: Between Friends and Lovers”
A Solo Exhibition
Presented by The Untitled Space
THE UNTITLED SPACE
45 Lispenard Street, NYC 10013
*RSVP* Due to COVID, there will be limited capacity inside the gallery, and guests are required to wear masks. RSVP Required via Registration Link. All RSVPs will be confirmed. Thank you in advance. RSVP REGISTRATION LINK
EXHIBITION ON VIEW
November 21– December 12, 2020
“Everyone is my friend and they are allowing me to be a witness to their love, which in turn is then celebrated by everyone that sees it.” Over the past few years, Katie Commodore’s artwork has concentrated on depicting real people’s sexuality, although not necessarily their sexual preferences, but rather sexuality in the broader sense. Her intimate portraits address what is it that makes them feel sexy, how they express that physically, and how it evolves over the years for them as individuals. “We change our clothes every season; our physical appearance through body modification, losing weight, gaining weight, tattoos, etc; we change our kinks and sexual preferences partner to partner, year to year. Our sexuality, and how we feel about it, is in constant flux; the same way that we redecorate our homes, change the wallpaper and curtains, change the sheets.” States the artist on her portraits. Commodore likens this subtle change in how her friends express themselves to the way society also expresses its collective self through decorative patterns. “In a roundabout way, it can be looked at as a meter of a population’s ‘sexuality’ – the public expression of the private. Bright colors, vibrant patterns, clean lines, and minimal decoration all provide a window into the personalities that chose or created them. Historians and anthropologists often use the decorative remnants (pots, jewelry, frescos, etc.) of past cultures to gain valuable insight into the lives of the people that created them, the same sort of cultural portrait can be drawn from our design choices today.”
Throughout the years, she has focused on various mediums including drawing, painting, printmaking, textiles, and scrimshaw. She has often emphasized materials that are not considered “fine art” but were rather thought of as women’s “hobbies” and in so doing highlights their traditional merit. A majority of her artwork is portraits of her friends during their most erotic moments, acting as a celebration of personal power, beauty, and sexuality. It is a subtle, but often rich moment that shows the kink, sexual fulfillment, and the sexual interests of those closest to her. “Any activity that helps someone express their sexuality is beautiful, to be supported, and worthy of being immortalized in art.” She states of her sexually charged portraits which depict real people in the moment, captured through private photo sessions with the artist which are used as references for her paintings or prints.
Commodore was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2007, which forced her to adjust her artistic practice. Her diagnosis motivated her to explore ways of maintaining the vibrant patterns and detail that she’s known for while not having to rely completely on her super fine motor skills. “Right before I was diagnosed with MS my artwork got much more detailed and pattern-based, and I think that was an unconscious reaction to the fact that I was losing my super-fine motor skills. Since then, I’ve adapted my studio practice to accommodate what I can and cannot do. I don’t draw with a pencil or pen as much anymore, paint brushes are more forgiving when it comes to small hand tremors. I do much more planning and sketching in the computer. Embroidery has been a real change that allows me to maintain the compulsive marking and patterns while there’s no need for perfect hand-eye coordination.”
Her latest series of large-scale figurative tapestries are ripe with intricate details. In a continuation of her signature style she presents bold figures against dramatically complex patterns, pushing the visuals into the realm of surreal erotic fantasies. The sheer scale of the works heightens the drama in a cinematic manner with the life-sized figures taking center stage. “Tandem to creating miniatures and paintings with vivid patterns, I’ve always been interested in creating life-sized portraiture. In grad school I did a series of life-sized relief prints and over the years I’ve done several life-sized drawings that I then spent months filling in with patterns. There was always something about portraying my models in a completely relatable scale that took the image from something precious to something actually more personal, the viewer can feel their gaze and the energy in their pose, feel their weight and almost come away feeling like they know the model in real life. Several years ago, I wanted to have custom tapestries made to reference the historical value of tapestries while giving tribute to the fact that often women were the actual makers of the tapestries which were usually designed by men. My digitally woven textiles start out as drawings in my computer. Like my works on paper, the patterns are historical wallpaper and fabric designs that range from the medieval to contemporary examples. I embroider on them, adding appliques (chine collé, if you will), bejeweling and beading away for hours, turning them into monoprints. I’m creating something new that combines the immediate gratification of print on demand fabricated works with the meditative, time consuming craft of embroidery and fiber arts. I juxtapose mass-produced elements with the uniqueness of each piece, elevating each patch and plastic bead to something more substantial.” She also introduces a number of text works in fiber that complement the series with their adventurously powerful statements.
Katie Commodore has exhibited throughout the United States and Europe, including England, Italy, Germany, and Greece. She has had solo exhibitions at Baby Grand, NYC, and SHAG, Brooklyn. Her work has been previously featured in a number of group shows presented by The Untitled Space including “(Hotel) XX” at Spring/Break Art Show, “IRL: Investigating Reality” and “Secret Garden”. Other notable exhibitions include “FEMME” presented by Spoke Art and Juxtapoz Magazine, SCOPE Art Fair, “StitchFetish 6” at The Hive Gallery, and “Facing the Walls” at The VETs Gallery. Residencies include ChaNorth, Pine Plains, New York; Red Light Design, Amsterdam, Holland; and One Night Residency, London, England. She is currently the Administrative Director of Crux, LCA, a cooperative of Black XR Creatives and Producers that focuses on Black storytelling and creating a foothold in the burgeoning vocabulary of new media of VR and creating Black wealth. Commodore has been featured in a number of publications including The New York Times and Dazed Digital, among others. She currently lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island.
“My entire life I’ve essentially been told to express my femininity, sexuality and female form in a way that pleases other people and I’m honestly just really tired of it. I will not perpetuate the objectification women face by constantly taking on opinions from other people that frankly, we didn’t ask for. I get dressed, do my hair, talk the way I wanna talk, think the way I do and feel the way I feel for me, no one else.” – SAYGRACE
Today, SAYGRACE releases “Girl,” a brand new single with an accompanying video. Watch it/listen HERE. “Girl” showcases Saygrace’s badass-yet-playful songwriting skills and her stunning, soulful voice. The track continues in the same mindset of her critically-acclaimed debut EPThe Defining Moments of SAYGRACE: Girlhood, Fuckboys & Situationshipsreleased earlier this year to rave reviews from NPR, Fader, Idolator, Billboard, Consequence of Sound, and more.
The video for “Girl” was shot in Los Angeles by Becky Hearn who also directed Saygrace’s video for “Boys Ain’t Shit” Featuring Tate McRae and Audrey Mika. On her debut EP, Brisbane, Australia born singer/songwriter SAYGRACE made the conscious decision to put the version of herself she wants to be into the world. She created songs that tells girls they don’t have to have it all figured out or succumb to pressure to be something they’re not. That it’s okay to just be yourself. And that it’s okay if you don’t know who that is yet.
Finnish pop powerhouse ALMA releases new single and music video for “When I Die” via Casablanca Records / Universal / Warner / Virgin EMI & PME today. Listen HERE. Watch HERE.
Produced and written by ALMA,Justin Tranter,andMike Sabbath“When I Die”is the second installment from her highly anticipated debut albumHave You Seen Her? set for release on the 5th of April 2019. It also marks the start of a period of continuous activity, which will see fans receive a new track with accompanying visual episodically into its release.
Shot in her native Finland and directed by celebrated Finish director Miikka Lommi, the video for “When I Die”depicts a gothic last supper scene and ALMA digging her own grave. “This song was born from a big conversation about when and how we leave the world is so out of our control. We spend so much time worrying about things out of our control, we’re always trying to be better, richer, more successful. We rarely appreciate the moments in front of us. Go to the party, blow your money (even if you have work tomorrow) you will survive!” says ALMA. “I wanted the video to look like our last party, what might the night look like if we knew this was it.”
“When I Die” highlights ALMA’s unique voice as a writer; honest, brave and fresh. As she says, “I’ve spent a lot of my life being told who to be, what to say or how to behave by the world. There’s constant pressure on us all to fit in and my music is about exactly the opposite. I want my fans to feel like they can be whoever, say whatever and look however when they listen to my music. Here you are accepted no matter what.”
ALMA – a 23-year-old with neon green hair, a magnetic punk attitude and a voice that could demolish buildings is part of a new wave of female powerhouses that have something say. Engaged and opinionated on issues from women’s rights to body positivity and sexuality ALMA is forward thinking and making a change.
Following her critically acclaimed EP “Dye My Hair” with platinum single “Chasing Highs”, smash track “Phases” FT French Montana (including an exclusive Charli XCX directed video) and her 2018 mixtape Heavy Rules; ALMA has garnered over 350 million combined Spotify plays and topped iTunes charts around the world.
MATRIX, the Wadsworth Atheneum’s groundbreaking contemporary exhibition series, has set some new goals. Upcoming projects will embrace experimental art, performance art, and explore new developments in painting. In looking at contemporary painting the Wadsworth found a unique vision in the work of Emily Mae Smith. The exhibition marks the first MATRIX show since 2013 to feature an artist who is solely a painter. For her MATRIX project, Smith engages with a masterpiece from the Wadsworth’s permanent collection: William Holman Hunt’s The Lady of Shalott (c. 1888–1905). Emily Mae Smith / MATRIX 181 will be on view February 7 through May 5, 2019.
Smith was chosen by Artsy as 1 of 20 female artists pushing figurative painting forward. With a nod to distinct painting movements from the history of art, such as Symbolism, Surrealism, and Pop art, Smith creates lively compositions that offer sly social and political commentary. Teeming with symbols, Hunt’s The Lady of Shalott (below) is the catalyst for this project, in which Smith provides a feminist reimagining of the narrative. For MATRIX 181, her first solo museum exhibition in the United States, Smith has selected seven paintings, dated 2015 to 2018, that relate to The Lady of Shalott, and created three new paintings, dated 2019, directly inspired by Hunt’s masterwork.
In The Lady of Shalott Smith finds a familiar image, she’s had a postcard of the painting since she was a teenager. It became the perfect source to address the outdated psychology of female oppression, male authority, and implied violence, still pertinent today.
There is an uncanny affinity between the coded iconography of Smith and Hunt. According to Patricia Hickson, the Wadsworth’s Emily Hall Tremaine Curator of Contemporary Art, “Emily Mae Smith offers a raucous and empowering retelling of The Lady of Shalott, leading with her eccentric broomstick avatar along with her usual toolbox of gendered symbols. She employs a refreshing, satirical approach to social commentary.”
Smith’s lexicon of signs and symbols begins with her avatar, inspired by the broomstick figure from Disney’s Fantasia (1940). Simultaneously referring to a painter’s brush, a domestic tool associated with women’s work, and the phallus, the figure continually transforms across Smith’s body of work. “The first broom I put in a painting was…a way for me to paint an object, figure, female, and phallus all at the same time. I thought it was funny and an ideal vehicle,” said Smith. “The ideas for my broom figure have changed and expanded since then; it has been molded to my painting needs. You can say more difficult things with a character.” Smith’s depiction of the female body is all visual wit and dark humor. By adopting a variety of guises, the broom and other symbols speak to contemporary subjects, including gender, sexuality, capitalism, and violence.
Emily Mae Smith was born in 1979 in Austin Texas. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received her M.F.A. in Visual Art from Columbia University, New York in 2006 and her B. F. A. in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin. Recent solo and dual exhibitions include: Emily Mae Smith, Le Consortium, Lyon, France (2018-19); A Strange Relative, Perrotin, New York, NY (2018); The Sphinx or The Caress, Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY (2017); Tesla Girls, Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium (2016); Honest Espionage, Mary Mary, Glasgow, Scotland, UK (2016); Medusa, Laurel Gitlen, New York, NY (2015). Select group exhibitions include Summer, curated by Ugo Rondinone, Peter Freeman Inc., New York, NY (2018);Pine Barrens, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, NY (2018); Pharmacy for Idiots, Rob Tufnell and Tanya Leighton, Köln, Germany (2017); Women to the Front, Works from the Miller Meigs Collection, Lumber Room, Portland, OR (2017); Le Quatrième Sexe, curated by Marie Maertens, Le Coeur, Paris, France (2017); Scarlet Street, Lucien Terras. New York, NY (2016); Me, Myself, I, China Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Surrreal, KoĴnig Galerie (St. Agnes), Berlin, Germany (2016); Untitled Body Parts, Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY (2016).
February 7, Art After Dark: Color My World, 5-8pm
Celebrate the opening of Emily Mae Smith / MATRIX 181. The evening includes an artist talk by Emily Mae Smith at 6pm, live music, free food, beer tasting, cash bar, watercolor workshop, and film. $10; $5 members.
March 9, Encounters: Emily Mae Smith and #MeToo, 10am
Join a dialogue that explores artistic responses to gender, sexuality, capitalism, and violence in the work of MATRIX artist Emily Mae Smith alongside the powerful, contemporary #metoo movement, which brings to light sexual harassment and sexual assault. Free, but RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat and lunch.
March 21, Gallery Talk: Emily Mae Smith / MATRIX 181, Noon
Curator Patricia Hickson leads a tour of MATRIX 181 discussing painter Emily Mae Smith’s flat, graphic imagery that visualizes issues like gender inequality, capitalism, and violence. Free with museum admission.
Inaugurated in 1975, MATRIX is the Wadsworth’s groundbreaking contemporary art exhibition series featuring works by artists from around the world. From its inception, MATRIX has been a forum for art that is challenging, current, and sometimes controversial. Through clear explanation and thoughtful engagement with the viewer, MATRIX exhibitions call into question preconceptions about art and increase understanding of its possibilities. Many MATRIX artists, such as Christo, Sol LeWitt, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, and Carrie Mae Weems are now considered seminal figures in contemporary art.
Exhibition and Program Support
The MATRIX program is generously supported by the Wadsworth Atheneum’s Contemporary Coalition. Public programs at the Wadsworth Atheneum are supported by the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation Fund. Sustaining support for the Wadsworth Atheneum provided by Newman’s Own Foundation and the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign.
About the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Founded in 1842, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is the oldest continuously operating public art museum in the United States. The museum’s nearly 50,000 works of art span 5,000 years, from Greek and Roman antiquities to the first museum collection of American contemporary art. The Wadsworth Atheneum’s five connected buildings-representing architectural styles from Gothic Revival to modern International Style-are located at 600 Main Street in Hartford, Conn. Hours: Wednesday-Friday: 11am-5pm; Saturday and Sunday: 10am-5pm Admission: $5-15; discounts for members, students and seniors. Free admission for Hartford residents with Wadsworth Welcome registration. Free “happy hour” admission 4-5pm. (860) 278-2670. thewadsworth.org.
Emily Mae Smith images courtesy of the artist and Simone Subal Gallery, New York. Left: Emily Mae Smith, The Drawing Room, 2018, Oil on linen. Private collection. Photo by Dario Lasagni. Center: Emily Mae Smith, Still Life, 2015, Oil on linen. Private collection. Photo by Charles Benton. Right: Emily Mae Smith, Unruly Thread, 2019, Oil on linen. Photo by Charles Benton.
William Holman Hunt, The Lady of Shalott, c. 1888-1905. Oil on canvas. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund. 1961.470
The Untitled Spacegallery is pleased to present “Thoughts and Prayers”a solo exhibition of works by artist Sarah Maple, curated by gallery director Indira Cesarine, opening January 22, 2019, and on view through February 3, 2019. Sarah Maple is an award-winning visual artist known for her bold, brave, mischievous and occasionally controversial artworks that challenge notions of identity, religion and the status quo. Hailing from Britain, this will be the first solo exhibition of the artist in the United States. Much of Maple’s inspiration originates from being raised Muslim, with parents of mixed religious and cultural backgrounds. “Thoughts and Prayers” will feature many new works, as well as a selection of some of her most notable past works, exploring a wide variety of media including performance, painting, photography, sculpture, collage, installation, and video. Maple’s pro-feminist artwork provokes a dialogue with her sharp humor and satirical eye. She fearlessly addresses what it means to be a Muslim in the Western world. Her taboo-breaking artwork fights against censorship as she investigates themes of politics, violence, freedom, feminism, and the ironies of pop culture. She often employs self-portraiture as a vehicle for her narrative, or engages guerrilla-style performance as a means to convey her message.
“Using her own image, and drawing on her experience as a Muslim woman, Sarah tackles society’s many taboos, elevating those previously oppressed, and giving voice to those long since silenced.” i-D Vice
“Maple has made a name for herself over the years for pushing the boundaries of femininity, and for publicly discussing the convergence of her dual-Muslim heritage with feminism. Rather than crumble, Maple has an impressive resolve in the face of cyber adversity: she tries to laugh instead of cry… Maple hopes to examine where freedom of speech ends and abuse begins.” – Dazed Digital
“Maple could well be the only artist to take on the Kardashians (with her ‘Keeping Up With The Kapulets’ show), stereotypes around Islam (with her ‘I Love Orgasms’ acrylic), and the taboos around menstruation (with her ‘Menstruate With Pride’ triptych). She has received a flurry of glowing reviews – and even more death threats.” – Good Trouble
“I think we need to be challenged, we need to hear challenging, radical, provocative things, even if we don’t agree with them, as it’s those things that make us react and make us want to bring about change…” Sarah Maple for TEDx
Sarah Maple graduated with BA in Fine Art from Kingston University London in 2007 and in the same year won The Saatchi Gallery’s “4 New Sensations” award for emerging artists. Maple’s artwork, film, and performances have been exhibited internationally at galleries and institutions including Tate Britain, The Barbican, AIR Gallery, and The New Art Exchange, among many others. Maple’s work has been the subject of documentaries including for ARTE and VPRO. In 2015 she released her first book “You Could Have Done This,” a hardback of selected works. The same year she was awarded a Sky Academy Arts scholarship from Sky Arts, which included funding, mentoring and a Sky Arts documentary. In 2017 she gave a TEDx talk in Birmingham, UK on the importance of free speech, titled “The Freedom To Be Challenged.”
Her work has been featured in numerous international publications, including Vogue, The Guardian, i-D Magazine, The Sunday Times UK, The Independent, People Magazine, Dazed, and the Huffington Post among many others. In 2018 she was invited to make a limited edition cover for Harper’s Bazaar’s art issue alongside artists including Yayoi Kusama, Barbara Kruger, and Linder Sterling. Her artwork is in collections including Soho House, The Hyman Collection and the Ned. Sarah lives and works in Sussex, England.
“My work is largely motivated by my upbringing as well as my interest in activism and gender politics. Citing current affairs I create works that provoke the viewer through satirical, tongue-in-cheek commentary. My mother is a Muslim from Kenya, who married my British father in the 1970s. She raised me as a Muslim in the UK and sent my siblings and I to a Catholic school. Much of my work examines the duality of my multicultural upbringing and the conflict of identity among young Muslims living in the western world. I began to explore these themes after reflecting on Muslim identity in Britain post 9/11and7/7 and the impact of the Iraq war. Motivated by the current political climate and being from an immigrant background, these subjects are close to my heart as I question notions of identity, belonging, and “otherness” in my works.
I see many parallels between the UK and the US, especially with Brexit and the Trump election. The gun debate is something especially intriguing to the British. The threat of terror is continually focused on and yet nothing is done about gun laws. When officials offer up “Thoughts And Prayers,” it appears hollow and insincere. I am interested in how a lack of action directly and/or indirectly inflicts suffering and potential violence on its citizens.
Also inspired by feminism and gender politics, my work aims to challenge deep-seated ideas about what it means to be a woman. I am interested in the role shame plays in women’s lives – how we take up space in the world, our physical appearance, bodily functions and “blame culture.” I explore the ways we can change the visual narrative for women as a form of empowerment. The medium I choose is determined by the strongest way to deliver my message; hence it is constantly evolving across a wide variety of media. Self-portraiture, for example, offers the possibility of taking ownership of our image. When we photograph ourselves, we have complete control over how we want our selves, our gender, our femininity, and our sexuality to be perceived by others. Humor is also an important element in my work. I often use a “Trojan horse” to get my message across and sometimes I just like to point out the obvious as this can be the most direct way to highlight how ridiculous something is. I used to accept a lot at face value but when I discovered feminism it motivated me not only to question the role of women, but also the preconceived ideas relating to all things in society.” – Artist Sarah Maple
ABOUT THE UNTITLED SPACE:
The Untitled Space is an art gallery located in Tribeca, New York in a landmark building on Lispenard Street. Founded in 2014 by Indira Cesarine, the gallery features an ongoing curation of exhibits of emerging and established contemporary artists exploring conceptual framework and boundary pushing ideology through mediums of painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video and performance art. The gallery is committing to exploring new ideas vis-à-vis traditional and new mediums and highlights a program of “Women in Art” as well as special events aligned with our creative vision.