Susie IRL: P O W E R & B U I L D
Lauren Sinner April 4, 2018
In the midst of our digitally-driven world, where discourse, debates and group connections often occur and spread online, Susie IRL presents complex themes about identity and singularity using a wide variety of media. Originally on display at HEREart in New York, NY from January 25th–March 28th, 2018, the works shown exist within the broader context of activism, community, the influence and immediacy of the internet, and the ever-expanding definition of gender and sexuality. Curated by Susie Magazine* co-founders, Olivia Jane Huffman, Melanie Roven, and Kristen Chiucarello, these themes are unveiled through the lens of contemporary artists from Susie Magazine Issue One • P O W E R and Issue Two • B U I L D. This article take a look at four of the fiber-focused artists featured in the exhibition.
Mariel Harari is a multimedia artist working primarily in installation, fiber, video, sculpture, stop motion and performance. She utilizes bright, tactile materials reminiscent of childhood, employing playful splendor as a lure. Harrari blends autobiographical and fantastical narratives to explore the relationship between societal constructs and uninhibited experience.
Bitter Root takes place in a forest in which the soil is replaced with heaps of white yarn. Radish florets are scattered across the ground, like acorns. The forest is populated by Cow Flowers. These flowers have beaded flesh toned stalks and yarn wrapped arms. Their petals are made of cowhide and are filled with vinyl steak. The predators of the forest are oversized Venus Flytraps with green beaded stalks and poisonous red mouths.
The video features a protagonist who enters the forest, picks a Cow Flower, peels back the cow hide petals and devours the steak she finds inside. As she eats, the Cow Flowers begin to collapse and recede. She is left in a clearing of white yarn.
Suddenly, 3 sets of teats materialize along her torso. A gang of Venus Flytraps moves in and surrounds her. They taunt her until she flips over and begins milking. The milk gushes out knocking over the Venus Flytraps and covering her.
Then, it is war! The girl goes into battle backed by an army of radish florets. The radishes shoot gold spikes and the girl is equipped with radish power enabling her to shoot the gold spikes from her wrists. The Venus Flytraps retaliate by shooting dark spikes from their claws, but the girl is victorious. She restores the Cow Flower forest, but keeps one steak for herself.
The narrative and set were inspired by childhood stories of adventures in fantastical lands. The symbols used and underlying meaning is drawn from my personal history and meant to communicate a message of perseverance.
Visual and Performance artist Olivia Jane Huffman assembles found materials with sentimental or historical context to critique social injustices. Olivia Jane, a non-binary person, created ART FOLX NATION in 2014, an ever-growing online group for creatives that align with intersectional ideals (now over 2,000 members in 6 collectives crossing the U.S.) and in 2015, co-founded Susie Magazine, an art and literary journal focused on amplifying women, trans, and non-binary voices.
Consent references sexual duties of the household. There comes in an entitlement over a woman’s body once they are wed, it wasn’t that long ago that raping your wife was legal. The piece consists of fishnet stockings, silver tacks, and clear buttons on drywall. The buttons fill up the fishnet stockings creating sags and lumps to mimic flesh.
Krystal Ramirez is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice alternates between drawing, installation, and photography. Her sculptural work is created through a process that combines craft, minimalism and accomplished by repetition and labor-intensive manual fabrication. Influences for her work are drawn from Art History, Semiotics, and her Latinx identity. Krystal has exhibited work at the LIfe is Beautiful Festival, Barrick Museum of Art and the Nevada Art Museum.
MAS MAS MAS MARICON: “The spontaneity of the phrases I engage with and the meditative power of laborious work allowed me to reflect on my condition as a person of color and a Latina. I hoped the viewer would engage in an analogous exercise and explore the phenomenon of language as personal expression. Ultimately, I wish to explore the relationship between language and our ever-evolving identities.”
AnnaLiisa Ariosa-Benston is a fine artist, curator, and director who makes interactive installations featuring artwork, wearable art objects, and typically live tattooing with a strong focus on feminism, inclusiveness, and social codification. Her ongoing project and installation, Famousonmars, lives primarily online through social media. She uses online platforms as a tool for collaboration, real time feedback, sales, and networking; keeping Famousonmars constantly charged and ever changing.
The Five Fucks Cap (Five Fucks Left) features a flesh gradient of emoji middle fingers hand cut and affixed to a faux suede baseball cap (in black and pink). As the Cap dips up and down the emoji’s go from fist to finger actively flicking off the world. This piece is a tongue-in-cheek response to internal frustrations as an artist, a freelancer and a member of society that is constantly fighting against the stream. The soft materials and seemingly innocuous fists are subversive as well seductive.
Other artists on display in Susie IRL include: Nancy Good, Erin Rose Opperman, Elena Mudd, Mikayla Whitmore, Lior Allay, Lauren Kay, LEESY, Carey MacArthur, Karin Quindo Miller, Eva Woolridge Photography, Busra Aydogan, Riley Gallagher, and Nicole Alexandra Navarro Espina.
*Susie Magazine is a bi-annual print art and literature journal that amplifies the voices of women, trans and non-binary voices of all ages, creeds, and socio-economic backgrounds. The co-founders of Susie met online in a secret Facebook group and have expanded the publication to encompass voices from around the world.