The Femme Gaze Art Show You Need to Check Out
A woman’s bedroom is an undeniably special and personal space. A place where she can shed the guises that society demands of her and just… be. Her room is a place where she has only herself to deal with, and only her own thoughts to entertain and dissect.
Curators and artists Tyler Hicks and Alexandra Velasco decided make this private space a public one in a group exhibition entitled HER ROOM. The show recreates a woman’s bedroom inside Los Angeles gallery Junior High and, in doing so, blurs the boundaries between a standard gallery show, an interactive installation, and an immersive mise-en-scène.
The show was organized as a group show, in collaboration with artists Julieta Gil, Lani Trock, Ashley Armitage, Yumna Al-Arashi, Jenny Sharaf, Sally Chung, Ali White, Dannielle Bowman, Serpentine, Kaitlin Magowan, and Moxie Bellucci, as well as Good Magazine, and Goaty Tapes, who provided the music with a curated selection from its signed artists. And as Sally Chung, a painter and one of the featured artists, explained, the exhibit “…calls for an intimate interaction with art that stimulates and allows for all senses to be present in the space.”
The “her” in HER ROOM does not refer to one particular person, but rather a collective entity—and by exploring, unpacking, and studying the artwork on display, the viewer has the freedom to decide what this collective entity looks like. As Hicks explained, “HER ROOM is an escape from worldly stresses… so in a way it is the embodiment of a safe space, a trip into a woman’s inner world, or a look into her attempt to disassociate from reality.”
A room of one’s own is the ultimate sanctuary, a privilege that belongs to the fortunate, and that’s endlessly beneficial, as multimedia artist Ali White explained. “To be effective out in the world it’s essential to take some time for yourself and rest in those quiet, frozen moments,” she said. “To me, HER ROOM is a simulacrum for that sublime rest stop, that place to shore up one’s own sense of effectiveness and strength.”
“So much of the content we consume within the climate of social media, film, television, advertisements, and more is an attempt to control the experience of womanhood, but when you are alone in your room, you are unapologetically and authentically yourself,” says embroiderer Kaitlin Magowan. In this space, viewers are asked to let go of preconceptions about how to act inside of a gallery, and are encouraged to browse the contents stuffed inside the dresser, to try on “her” clothing, and to control the music (and by extension, the space’s ambience).
And since each artist featured has a different backstory, the end product that is “her” looks like an amalgamation of different viewpoints. As artist Lani Trock explained, “[The show] presented the perfect opportunity to explore empathy and its relationship to the feminine.”
Photography by Alexandra Velasco.
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