Art show explores gender-based connections, self-exploration

Photo by Elizabeth Humphreys.
Photo by Elizabeth Humphreys.

The Ambiguously Yours art exhibition presented work exploring themes of gender on Feb. 16 at the Hofheimer Building.

The exhibition served as the senior thesis for Caeleigh Griffin, who attends the Savannah College of Art and Design via its e-learning program. She chose gender as the theme because of her interest in the topic — Griffin’s work focuses on the evolution of the female nude from an art history perspective.

“I wanted to show the work of emerging artists and give them more of a community without them having to take on the financial burden of putting on a show,” Griffin said.

Griffin featured some of her own work in the exhibition. The pieces, self-portraits based off of photos, were laid against a wall on the floor instead of being hung up. This position increases interaction between viewers and the art, Griffin said.

“It makes people ask questions and then it starts a conversation,” Griffin said.

Emma Gould, a junior in the VCUarts photography and film program, had four photographs featured in the exhibition. The collection featured two self-portraits and two photos of Gould and her mother, who is posed in business attire while Gould maintains a casual position, exposing parts of her body. The stance reflects a character Gould developed that represents femininity.

“I want people to be confronted by my really awkward stances,” Gould said. “A lot of my work ties in with how androgyny is so inherently masculine and why that is a thing only reserved for guys.”

Gould wanted to explore how “comfortable” clothing choices are usually associated with masculinity while femininity is policed to the point where it feels restrictive.

Gould had already created work regarding dysphoria, gender roles and questioning gender and thought the pieces would be appropriate for the exhibition. This series in particular helped her connect with her mother on a deeper level.

“It’s made me feel better because I’ve connected with other people in my major, or at least in the arts in general about this topic,” Gould said.

VCU junior photography major Marissa Alper featured a collection of photos exploring female relationships. She said she lacked a female role model for a short time in her life.

The photos feature Alper and her roommate in various positions, “being goofy” in front of pink and purple backgrounds. Like other featured artists, Alper was also interested in gender.

“I felt like it was an important topic and I wanted to put my two cents into the conversation. I wanted whatever little voice I have to be heard,” Alper said. “I was just kind of delving into that and comparing female figures in my life and kind of showing how supportive and how important they are.”

In one of the images, Alper’s roommate is seen doing a headstand. While the action was “just kind of for fun,” Alper said, it also reflects how the two balance each other out.

Alper also created two small books of photos for the show. One of them showed her year in photos and the other was a project in which she photographed people she met on Tinder, a dating and social app. The entire project also included an instillation of paintings.

“That was my way of curating people,” Alper said. “Kind of exploring my own vulnerability and the systematic oppression of women and how we feel unsafe on Tinder.”

Griffin said she chose the Hofheimer Building as a location because the venue, and Scott’s Addition location, are unconventional for an art show.

“I think (the exhibition) is really very different, I think it’s diverse and I really learned a lot throughout the process,” Griffin said. “I kind of wanted to see how different people around the Richmond community would explore that theme.”

Georgia Geen Spectrum Editor 

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