Event: Evolving by Faith Rae – PortageOnline.com
Evolve by Faith Rae
July 27 to August 25, 2022
The art gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
By creating art, I made the transition to self-acceptance. My work explores the process of coming out of my shell by forming and reconstructing my understanding of my identity. Examining and deconstructing my own queer existence through art allows me to take control of preconceived shame to reinforce my diversity. Painting, mixed media and installation allowed me to explore my evolving identity and metaphorically analyze its “layers” through a variety of media.
The works Defeated, Merely a dream and Anxiety Waterfall use the technique of action painting and layered abstraction, which involves the spontaneous application of paint and media to a surface. The layered pattern of each medium is a metaphor that connects my alternating emotions, from anxiety and depression to self-reflection and self-acceptance. The work, Defeated uses unconventional mediums like baby oil, drywall compound, wire, and hot glue to reference the debris accumulated over time from my internal demons.
Through mixed media and installation, my work process is versatile in expressing the complex aspects of my identity. In my art installation Crumbling, I use surrealism by distorting photographs of my hands to create new context for my emotional turmoil. Mixed media works such as Transformation, Blanket of Denial and Daily Queer use repurposed materials like a vintage file rack, dried paint chips, stitched pieces of canvas and aluminum to give new meaning to the work using unconventional materials. The work Daily Queer expresses the vulnerability of my daily emotions translated into strips of canvas riveted to black aluminum. Compared to my vulnerable emotions, aluminum is reflective and durable, becoming a metaphor for my artistic practice.
The feeling of the materials has a significant importance in how I relate my art to my life as a queer person. The diptych Why am I? and maybe I am? uses personal items like tea towels and my grandmother’s tea towels. The work Why am I? expresses the mental trauma of questioning myself. The coin is embedded with ink-printed questions such as “Why am I fighting?”. The work examines how I reuse negative thought patterns, versus how I reuse my art materials. Maybe I am? uses my grandmother’s tea towels that are encrusted with ink statements like “I’m valid”. The artwork reflects the safe space I have with my family to feel valid as a queer person.
I integrated an audio piece and an installation The Opened Closet in a separate space from the exhibition because I want to be transparent about my identity. I wanted to create an intimate experience between me and the viewer, addressing each participant via audio in the space. There are relaxed nuances used in the construction of the installation by removing the curtain between the exhibition and the installation, as a metaphor for an “open closet”.
Being queer is something I identified with from a young age; however, I have always been uncertain about my future as a queer woman. The exhibit shows my evolution from experiences of internal shame, fear and anxiety to the comfort I now feel in recognizing the truth of my identity. Through art, I was able to proudly accept myself as a queer individual, and instead of fearing my future, I am motivated.