Ritual and ceremony are paramount in the complex narratives the American-based artist Minka Sicklinger
weaves into her work. An observation of everyday forms, the subconscious as well as inspiration drawn
from a lifetime of collecting highly decorated textiles and jewelry translates into geometric patterns and
shapes. These serve to form a timeless matrix in which humans and animals dance, fly and worship,
offering reverence and mysticism to the everyday.
I started the Flat People series a couple of years ago with the intention of making sex happen and bodily fluids take over. But the figures are so flat and the charcoal so dusty that sensuality never kicks in. Only a vague idea of the actions represented makes it through the flatness of the paper, suggesting that representation requires mechanics of its own in order to create true pictures, folded over the semantics of the drawing. By illustrating with candid flatness, I am able to instantly rearrange and inject new tensions into a pre-existing web of meanings.
Some Silly Stories, an animated web series in collaboration with musician Flavien Berger, employed the semantics of Flat People with a renewed focus on using humor to engage viewers in real time. With Some Silly Stories, I piled up peripheral emotions, disregarded notes, repressed drawings, and the leftovers of everyday life into small volcanoes of vulnerability and tenderness. The episodes are generous and emotional, provoking equally charged responses from its viewers, although the nature of the emotions vary from person to person. These diverse reactions function as an ongoing critique that redefines and challenges systems of representation and communication—demonstrating that a language as straightforward as cartoons becomes multi-dimensional and political when confronted with a diversity of opinions.
This Summer in Morocco, I began to explore the multidimensionality of political and social frameworks after my first encounter with Fardaous Funjab.
Imagine the end of a funeral: everyone is exhausted with grief. The psalmodiers are still psalmoding and some people are chewing almonds. Towards the end, my mother shares a dream she had. She says:
I had a dream that mama wanted to start wearing the hijab and I was so mad at her. I said “You taught us, Faith is in your heart; not around your ears. You are a modern woman.” But mama said her decision was made, she would wear the hijab from now on. I wanted to rebel against her so I took Meriem and put her back inside my belly.
In the middle of this insanity, I look at the woman sitting next to me. She is wearing a hijab but seemsunconcerned by my mother’s dream. Too busy texting. The woman introduces herself as Fardaous Funjab, a successful designer who has made a fortune selling Haute Couture hijabs. Her spicy perfume smells like an intoxicating gateway into the mysterious world of covered women. She projects a monstrous, complicatedbreath, an impossible synthesis of hysterical Coran and silent giggles. I compliment her hair, although most of it is hidden underneath her headscarf. She says: “Oh thank you, my hairdresser, Najat, said I would look like the Moroccan Mariah Carey if I let her bleach some of the implants. You live in America right? So you would know! They will believe you! Tell them I look exactly like her. ***wink!”
I look at her thick hair implants. Fardaous seems to be held vertical by them. She would probably sit differently if she were balding. She looks around the crowded living room in grief, and majestically inhales as though she feels the pressure of every single person against her breasts.
I was raised by uncovered Muslim women, with topless beach summers and competing cleavage. Everything about Fardaous seemed to redefine my inherited antagonism towards the hijab. Fardaous Funjab represented the diametrical opposite of my system of values. And yet the raging stream of thickly covered sensuality pouring out of this woman began to wash away the validity of my mother’s judgmental reaction towards the hijab.
Two days later, I meet with Fardaous again and she agrees to let me document two months of her life. I filmed her getting ready in the morning, tracing her eyebrows with her eyes closed, tanning through her mesh body suit, reinventing a mini golf course in her garden and making sales in her million dollar house. The documentation explores the aesthetics of sexiness and reality TV through the lens of a hijab designer.
From the flatness of indulgent cartoons to silly not-so-silly stories, I have focused on the dissolution of tropes and questioning systems of representation through a strategy of magical realism and humor as an unreliable pacifier. My practice has now entered a deeply transitional phase, exploring the encounter of fashion and religion with a focus on the aesthetics of sexuality/sexiness in a contemporary Muslim context.
Floating through pastel heterotopias, eating fro-yoTM still-lifes and running down a concrete treadmill, my
work is a product of the millennial condition. Paper sculptures become vast landscapes, structural
elements are rendered in a balanced static space and photographic planes emulate the world behind the
screen. That #ffffffffffffffff color space I’m in all the time. A buzzing glow that gets louder and louder as day
turns to night and I’m still hunched over in front of it. An odd simultaneity of soothing rhythm cloaked in a
dull anxiety and the firewire bursts when I finally squeeze my eyes shut. I open them on something real
and my hands are dirty.
I use digital technologies to design the spaces of painting and photography. Existing between
abstraction, graphic art, Adobe CS and the screen, the work aims for a place where the supposedly
discrete states–flatness and dimensionality–analogue and digital–are merged. By cruising the feedback
loop between digital and material space in the studio, pictorial planes collapse and unify. I deal with this
compression, the flat space of design, through familiar tropes–the still life, tableaus of abstract structures,
formalism, cubism and op art.
The frame, the lens, the borderline separating me from you. Two people pass through portals and come
together across the fish net of time and space to listen to steel drums with sweaty palms. I look through
the airbrushed haze and see Ed Ruscha sending a text message two-million years too late, floating on
the horizon line, cutting through the acrylic smog and sitting on the edge of a frame, sunbathing. The
entryway is friendly and round and oh so smooth. Miami Dolphins on cruise control.
The House of ia
The House of ia locates itself amid a nomadic nucleus.
ia, as subject, carries a curious intent to participate in information as expression, in performance as discursive.
Our ‘House’ renders interest in fabricating a practice of intimate experimentation by queering the social and interpersonal rituals of relating, and engaging in resistance as a form of generation.
Entwined within the thin shroud amidst condition and creation, we deploy process as a working strategy to explore alterity, a leaping into the void, resisting a legacy towards anterior archetypes and dominant designs.
ia, as object, locates itself in breaking through seemingly fixed ideas that limit and marginalize the concepts and methodology constituting a calculation of ‘art’ , with an intention to expand the platform for tracking, discovering, and interpreting ‘newness’.
The House of ia was founded in 2012 and is the collaborative works of Jillayne Hunter and kb Thomason.
“We find our selves creating in the edges, falling through grey space separating intent and decision. Betwixt binaries, amid arrival and departure, male and female, internal and external, we find slippery useful, perspicuity in vague, and locus in flux. Ignited by the balmy states between here and there, we are a planet in transit ever engrossed in the process of ‘being’ in ‘becoming’.”
"I first commissioned Lilly in the mid-2000’s to create a series of paintings that promoted productivity in my office. My staff and I both benefited from the serene environment her work facilitated." -Steven Fraggioli (CEO).
"Lilly's paintings don't just speak they breathe." -Laura Parsons (Interior Designer)
"I am the Regional Manager at ReVisions LTD and was at the corporate office when the first Lilly Walden arrived. When we put it up, I really couldn't see the difference between her painting and the one before, but after a few weeks I have to say I did felt more productive, more focused and calmer in general. I'm not sure if it was the painting or what but my co-worker Steph had a similar experience. Hopefully corporate approves one for my branch." -Kyle Englehart (Regional Manager)
"I wanted to make a wallpaper from her work for the interior of my house but Lilly politely declined. I do respect that Lilly is interested in producing and reproducing energetic environments through her paintings. Though it really would have looked nice in my bathroom..." -Jennifer Mason (Home Owner)
"A friend of mine who has practice upstate hung a Lilly Walden in the waiting room to calm patients before surgery. I thought if it worked there it might work for my employees. Turns out it has transformed the ambience in the office. I have even ordered one for my mother in law!" -Gwen Lewis (Executive Director)
Gianluca has maintained a studio practice for over ten years in Northern New Jersey, for nearly a decade in the thriving arts district of Newark NJ, and currently in Jersey City.
Bianchino exhibits regularly throughout the greater New York area. Recent exhibits include The Painting Center, NY and at Chashama Chelsea Project Space, NY and a solo exhibit at Index Art Center, Newark, NJ which is reviewed in the April 2013 edition of Sculpture Magazine.
Gianluca’s current body of work is inspired by cosmology and physics.
In a slurry of conceptual fragments and gestures, my interests in the abstract, the screen, and zoning out,
tie my practice together. Conceptually my work plays off painting and lava lamp tropes, resulting in
sculptural installation, video, painting, and bookworks. Screensavers, after-images, eye floaters,
minimalism, and optics, influence my visual language, drifting from swirlly to gridded and modular.
Pursuing a techy minimalist re-enchantment of space, my installations are kind of abstract esoteric zones,
using frames, and video to delineate space. Columns made from lenses placed on low-rise plinths
simultaneously evoke the permanence of architectural space and become ethereal, in their transparent
Working with light as an effect, process, and image, the works crystalize into either physically or digitally
layered prints on plastic and fabric. Abstract fields from both analogue and digital processes explore
physicality and mediation. The physical boundary of the flatness of the screen and physicality of fabric
and plastic give sensation as the eye wanders in fully saturated layers. Evidence of the hand is captured
in the images as smudges and debris on my scanner are left through process. Vibrating between flat and
dimensional, the seriality of images suggests the infinite and subjective. Using imagery of static and
reflective materials, there is no referent to image or object in the real world. I love how one can get lost in
the peripheral border of an image, find one’s self focused in the center, or floating in the static of spatial
dimensions until you hit the edge of the frame.
Complicated with intentional glitches, I use performance, video and installation to navigate and discover social patterns and manipulate the absorption of culture into propaganda. Sexual structures, technological evolution of body movement and Feminine paradigm shifts become language that breaks through the expectations of dance and enters into an interruptive discomfort. Performance and technology become tools for acknowledging a grounding reality.
The body processes information regardless of the choice to do so, so manifests personality as well as psychosis. I am drawn to those who have let their bodies move away from the mind; drug induced nod outs, half-active and intoxicated. I am not interested in glamorizing or promoting this behavior, but navigating the choice to speak its body language. Thus, my work addresses control in liminal spaces of this particular processing terminal, as performance, installation and video.