Gaze Interrupted: Shagha Ariannia, Sarah Palmer, Anthony Peyton Young, Mia Weiner, Jamil Hellu
September 17 - November 19, 2022
482-D 49th Street, Oakland CA
Artist Reception: Saturday, September 17, 6-8pm
CULT Aimee Friberg and CULT Bureau are pleased to announce Gaze Interrupted, a group exhibition including works by Shagha Ariannia, Sarah Palmer, Anthony Peyton Young, Mia Weiner, and Jamil Hellu opening at CULT Bureau in Oakland (482-D 49th St) on September 17. The works in Gaze Interrupted deconstruct the gendered unilateral gaze typical in Western art history and invite a conversation between subject and viewer, centering a gaze beyond the binary. The exhibition will be on view from September 17 to November 19, 2022, with an opening reception on September 17, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Working across painting, illustration, weaving, mixed media, and photography, the five artists showcased in Gaze Interrupted seek to not only dismantle the conventional straight white male gaze but to take it beyond: to queer the gaze, to femme the gaze, to look at sex and desire from the perspective of Black/queer intimacy and connection rather than physical objectification of cis-gendered bodies.
"The gaze"—historically understood as one that objectifies the heteronormative female form—has long represented women as sexual objects for the male viewer. Feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey coined the term "the male gaze" to bring awareness to the heterosexual, gendered quality of this unilateral gaze. Black and queer people have encountered a public culture rejecting or othering their desire and experience.
Gaze Interrupted presents five artists that interrupt that art historical and early feminist gaze to engage a deeper exploration of the queer, Black and femme gaze, to depict themselves or whomever they choose to depict, and to be self-performative for the camera when desired.
Through painting, drawing, and collage, Anthony Peyton Young explores identity, ancestry and memorialization. From his depictions of individuals killed by police, to intimate portraits of his friends and loved ones, or works that turn the gaze on the self, Peyton renders Black life and experience with a surrealistic and ecstatic lens. Seeking ways to memorialize and honor family traditions inform both pieces in Gaze Interrupted: Young’s Tigress is a powerful tribute to his mother and Girl in the Durag reimagines the quintessential Dutch Vermeer painting Girl with a Pearl Earring.
Raised in an authoritarian regime under government control and oppression, Iran-born, Los Angeles-based artist Shagha Ariannia examines the contrast between public and private behavior, and the desires quieted by societal norms. Ariannia’s paintings in Gaze Interrupted engage questions of vulnerability, doubt, desire, shame, love and awkwardness. In her recent series, and as depicted in the work Antony Sitting with Flowers, 2022, Ariannia uses her lover as a muse, shaping an auto-fictional narrative reminiscent of Orientalist paintings of the 19th century. Ariannia paints her subject in classical odalisque poses, inserting her agency over this history, and inverting the Western art historical master/muse power structure.
San Francisco born (and New York-based) artist Sarah Palmer explores a varied terrain of human vulnerability through her collaging, photographing and re-photographing. Palmer composes these layered, textural vignettes sourced from photographic diagrams of the body, rape-prevention manuals, historical photographs of dance, Sears catalogs, and found amateur erotic photographs, resulting in a centering of the feminine figure within surreal and reimagined contexts. Here, bodies are chaotically juxtaposed with textures of rugs, clenched fists, and heavy baroque drapery, calling into question the act of looking, and of hiding.
In Jamil Hellu’s Transience series, the multidisciplinary artist turns the camera entirely on himself. Both Fairy Tale and Mythos, two works from the series featured in (They) Gaze Interrupted, present Hellu using performance, movement and photographic representation to challenge binaries around sexuality. Gifted weaver Mia Weiner also explores issues of gender and human identity. Using photography to stage tableaus of entangled bodies, Weiner foregrounds our corporal connection to observing touch and pleasure depicted. With a rich sensuality to the material, Weiner mediates the image through her weaving on a Jacquard loom, resulting in tactile tapestries that evoke connection and the shared experience of bodies in intimacy.
Shagha Ariannia (b.1984, Tehran) is an interdisciplinary visual artist born and raised in Iran. Ariannia grew up in an authoritarian regime, where public behavior was under government control. As a result, her interests lie in the contrast between public and private behavior, examining the politics of the body and its desires in relation to sexual norms. Inspired by feminist writers such as Kathy Acker or Kris Kraus, as well the poets of Iran (Forough Farokhzad), Ariannia uses auto-fiction as a strategy for image making. Her practice at large continuously engages with questions of vulnerability and doubt, intimacy and desire, shame, love and awkwardness. Her works have been exhibited at the Vincent Price Art Museum, Meliksetian Briggs Gallery, University of California Irvine; LAXART; 18th Street Art Center; Commonwealth and Council; the Torrance Art Museum, Galerie der Hochschule, Braunschweig, Germany and Gallery MOMO, Capetown. She received her MFA from CalArts and BA from the University of California, Irvine. She is a 2016 recipient for the California Community Foundation Fellowship and attended Bemis Residency in Fall 2018.
Sarah Palmer (b. 1977, San Francisco) is a photography-based artist currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Her practice, based in the studio, envisions a wide-ranging and complex conversation about the physical and psychological worlds we inhabit, exploring such disparate topics as performative eroticism, environmental calamity, and photography’s complex relationship to representation. She received her BA from Vassar College and MFA in Photography, Video, and Related Media from School of Visual Arts. She was awarded the 2011 Aperture Portfolio Prize and has had solo exhibitions at Mrs. Gallery, NADA Miami, Aperture, and The Wild Project. Her work has been exhibited in recent years at Transmitter (Brooklyn, NY), Monti 8 (Latina, Italy), Rachel Uffner Gallery (NYC), Tiger Strikes Asteroid (Brooklyn, NY), and Launch F18 (NYC). Recent commissions include The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and New Directions Press. She has been self-publishing a series of artist books since 2015, most recently including The Sweets of Pillage and Slipping Rose. She is currently the Interim Associate Director of BFA Photography at Parsons School of Design, and teaches in the Parsons BFA and MFA Photography programs.
Anthony Peyton Young (b. 1988, Charleston) is a Boston based artist born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia. Working primarily in painting, drawing, ceramics, and collage, Young’s work explore methods of memorializing, healing, family traditions, black/black queer intimacy, and the spaces we use to activate these actions. He earned his B.A. from West Virginia State University and his M.F.A. from School of the Museum of Fine Arts/ Tufts University. Young has won awards such as the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University Traveling Fellowship and the Walter Feldman Fellowship for Emerging Artists. His work is included in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Simmons University, and Juliette Art Museum. He has also been featured in publications such as Gay Letter Magazine, New American Painting, Evergreen Review, and The Boston Globe. Young has presented his work at School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and Harvard’s Black Portraiture Conference.
Mia Weiner (b. 1991, Chicago). Responding to the historical textile, Weiner creates intimate declarations that explore identity, gender, and the psychology of human relationships. Mia received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2020) and her BFA in Fiber from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2013. Her work has been exhibited internationally including in New York, London, Berlin, LA, Miami, and Chicago. Mia is represented by Ochi Projects.
Jamil Hellu (b. 1976, Curitiba) employs a multidisciplinary art practice spanning photography, video, and site installations to explore themes of identity, visibility, cultural heritage, a shift beyond the binary. Navigating from a personal lens, his projects weave together strategies of performance and photographic representation to point to the tensions found in the evolving discourse about sexuality. Born in Brazil, Hellu holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Art Practice from Stanford University and a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute. His projects have been discussed in publications such as The New York Times, The Guardian, Artforum, and VICE. He is the recipient of the San Francisco Art Commission Artist Grant, Zellerbach Family Foundation Community Grant, Fleishhacker Foundation Eureka Fellowship, and the Kala Art Institute Fellowship Award. Hellu has held art residencies at the San Francisco Recology Artist-in-Residence Program, Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Public collections holding his work include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Cantor Center for Visual Arts, CA; Colorado Photographic Arts Center, CO; and Blanton Museum of Art, TX. He is a Photography Lecturer in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University. An active member in the San Francisco Bay Area arts community, Hellu serves as an advisory board member for Recology’s Artist-in-Residence Program. Hellu is represented by Rebecca Camacho Presents.