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The Bees: Something Swarming Something

Brooklyn Fire Proof (Richardson)
101 Richardson Street, between Leonard St. and Meeker Ave., 718-302-4702
June 15 - August 12, 2007
Reception: Friday, June 15, 7 - 10 PM
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Brooklyn Fire Proof is pleased to present The Bees: Something Swarming Something, featuring work by Lauren Beck, Sophia Dixon, Angela Fraleigh, Christy Gast, Ella Kruglyanskaya, Sandra Maas, Lilly McElroy and Erika Somogyi.

Is it true that all art made by women can be placed under the blanket of “feminist art”? In some ways it is impossible to disassociate the gender of the artist from the work the artist produces. However, it seems it is especially difficult to do this with work made by women. Some fight with this through out their careers, forever battling the filter of the “male gaze.” The eight artists in this show construct a spectrum of contemporary feminism, each one individually digesting and, to varying degrees, embracing this concept.

Erika Somogyi uses watercolor to create ethereal landscapes that drape bodies into nature and vice versa. When viewing this work you are forced to wonder if you are looking into her or seeing a reflection of what she sees in you. Unlike the fluid transition from nature to figure in Somogyi’s work, Beck uses collage to abruptly place her figures (dominatrix women cut from vintage s/m magazines) into the dreamy, yet eerie landscapes she creates. Her collaged women would seemingly be out of place, yet they remain unfazed, and never falter in their wildness.

Sophia Dixon and Angela Fraleigh both use overtly sexual poses and gestures to create a scene. However, sexiness is far from the first read. Dixon’s gothic quirky, elegance initially disarms the viewer. Then you quickly realize that these fictional characters are not saying, “I love you,” rather they are emanating “I’m going to make you love me.” Fraleigh’s work has a similar effect, but rather than creating a space for the likes of vampires, her work takes on the notion of a diaristic or documentary practice. This work feels like the real thing, fluidly and calmly walking the line between sensuality and violence.

Sandra Maas and Ella Kruglyanskaya’s use vastly different aesthetic strategies to make images. However, by keeping the background minimal they both effectively create figures that become iconic. Lacking context, the bodies of Kruglyanskaya’s characters become the primary space in which action unfolds. Funny and self-deprecating, these figures are caricatures of femaleness. The creatures in Maas’s work take themselves more seriously. They are fairy-tale-bag-women on a journey. Making penance, running away, looking for something new…they are both weird and beautiful.

Christy Gast uses silk-screened lyrics and the sound of her voice to tell the true stories of three female solders. The lyrics written and sung by Gast are forthright without attempting to persuade. By being as straightforward as possible this piece is simultaneously somber, funny and cynical. Interacting with the work is an intimate experience, and the sound of Gast’s voice adds an unexpected level of emotion.

Lilly McElroy’s piece “I Throw Myself at Men” is an ongoing project of exactly what its title implies. Shown via projection, each frame involves Lilly hurtling herself through the air at men. She is not at all self-conscious and maintains an essence of grace. Free and sweetly confrontational, McElroy is not afraid to implicate herself.
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