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MCLA Gallery 51: Sexpectations

Featuring: Chris Antemann, Martha Colburn, Autumn Doyle, Raymond Felix, Robert Gullie, Sean Hovendick, Joan Kiley, Portia Munson, Nate Page, Thor Wickstrom

Sexpectations examines how the media and pop culture contorts, misrepresents and informs perceptions of one self and how we relate to others. These ten artists utilize a variety of mediums to express how they are affected by the omnipresence of mass media. The exhibition questions social pressures that attempt to force individuals to conform to idealized images.

Artists Sean Hovendick and Martha Colburn have used animation as well as computer generated and found images, to create videos that deal with societal constructions of masculinity and femininity, the struggle to adapt to society's vision of gender roles, and the resulting harmful effects to our psyches and bodies. Colburn's "Cosmetic Emergency" is a reflection on our national obsession with beauty and appearance. Similarly, one computer interactive of Hovendick's, "It's All Inside Out", focuses on the representation of the so-called ideal man and the individual striving for that attainment creates internal divide.

Thor Wickstrom and Nate Page explore the effect of media on body image, using actual publications to create paintings and sculpture. What are the implications of portraying the 'best' and 'worst' body types seen in the headlines of the 'National Enquirer' and similar publications on our sense of self?

Not only does society construct these blueprints of gender, it markets to these ideals. Portia Munson's "Pink Project Table" features a mass assemblage of products in the color pink, a color usually used in marketing towards young girls and women. Joan Kiley's "Big Deal" is a painting using multimedia images that also channels this theme. Raymond Felix explores medicines and health and beauty products marketed to men. With the seemingly constant barrage of images in advertisements our perception of what is desirable is altered.

Artists Autumn Doyle, Chris Antemann, and Robert Gullie take these constructs and turn them on their heads. Using classical aesthetics, Doyle and Antemann address modern gender issues such as transexuality. The photo collages of Robert Gullie contain gender stereotypes as well as characters who rebel against set identities.

Sexpectations was curated by students in the Museum Studies class, part of MCLA's Arts Management program: Edgar Contreras, Sarah Dion, Laura Gibson, Joanna Gillis, Sarah Lomas, Stephanie Naffah, Gary Noke, Michael Obasohan, Carrie Richards, Brielle Rizzotti, Barbara Rundback, Lucy Sacco, Natalie Tottenham, Tara Von Schmidt, Lesley Zaya, Assistant Professor Laura Thompson, and Kidspace at MASS MoCA intern Kacey Light.  Thank you for the loan of the artwork to the artists; Lesley Ferrin Gallery, Pittsfield, NY; and Jen Bekman Gallery, NYC.

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