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PALPABLE TENSIONS

An exhibition from the Milwaukee Queer Artist Collective featuring works by Lee Hodge, Thomas Romero, Emily Wardell, and Fern Conklin.

Palpable Tension explores textures, tactility, harmony, and dissonance. Combining the work of four Milwaukee artists working in different mediums; paint, print, illustration, and fiber. This exhibition creates conversation across material borders. With a broad exploration of tension and its attendant concepts; force, astriction, elasticity. This collection of work theorizes viewership as interactive and sight as palpable. As your gaze moves across the variety of surfaces present we invite you to contemplate the relationship between vision, dimensionality and material. 

About MQAC

The Milwaukee Queer Artists Collective is a space where artists, makers, creatives, and hobbyists who consider themselves a part of the LGBTQ+ community can support one another. 

MQAC’s Mission 

Our mission is to create a safe and supportive network of LGBTQ+ artists in the local Milwaukee area to help lift up and support queer artists and creators. This group is aimed at supporting both young and old artists, as well as professional and early career artists. 

Palpable Tensions

BIO:
Lee Hodge is an artist and writer. Her work has been exhibited at the Chrysler Museum of Art, The Virginia Museum of Modern Art, Sullivan Galleries Chicago, Uri-Eichen Gallery and elsewhere. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Granta, The Tulane Review, Oberon, Thrush, and After Hours. She has studied at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Virginia Commonwealth University, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

STATEMENT:
The thematic concerns of my work are drawn from the material and conceptual conflicts that arise from an active practice of making and inquiry. I am attracted aesthetically not only to material harmony but also material dissonance. I see the incongruences between materials as having the potential to indict incongruences in our public and private selves as well as in our expectations and realities. Relationships are also a fundamental interest in my work, which theorizes that relationships (visual, historical, personal) exist in perpetual states of conflict. I enjoy queering materials with loaded histories and strong connotations; pastel nylon, linen, hemp, zip ties. These materials undergo processes that critique existing labor hierarchies and employ methods ranging from pre-and post-industrial fabrication often citing the process of fabrication as a central conceptual component of the work itself. Labor processes that generate a kind of frustration are particularly featured platforms to question notions of efficiency and productivity along with their attendant imperial and colonial associations. The work I make insists that this dissonance be fruitful and invites the viewer to investigate what it means for art to look like a wrong, bad mess. The incorporation of language, text, and elaborately poetic titles represents a willingly discursive exploration into rhetorical power and the responsibility that accompanies visibility. Finally, my work acknowledges that I exist and that this existence is both socially specific and broadly generic. Boundaries are of great interest, and I find myself returning to the idea of boundaries in conflict and of identification, reconciliation, compromise, and legibility. I do not place my work outside of my own identity and instead critique implicit solipsism with a genuine desire to share discourse and reach understandings that may or may not be allowed, prohibited, or possible.

ARTWORK:
Suit
double cloth pickup weave of natural and synthetic dyed fibers
2021, price available upon request

Padded Wall Piece
knotted merino
2021, price available upon request

I Am Not A Masochist
masonite print on muslin, embroidery, hemp
2021, price available upon request

My Boundaries Are Inside Your Boundaries
copper wire, merino, embroidery
2021, price available upon request

To Make the Stone Stony
paper, graphite, linen
2021, price available upon request

Stop Targeting My Narcissism
nylon yarn, linen
2021, price available upon request

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Palpable Tensions

STATEMENT: The Loss of Routine
We all will suffer the loss of a routine many times throughout our lives. How we end up processing and dealing with that is an interest I’ve chosen to explore through my own work. Drawing inspiration from moments of sobriety and relapse. These new pieces are the beginning of an understanding of what that process has meant to me and how old and new routines can sometimes interfere with ones ability to navigate this new sober landscape.

Using my background in printmaking to influence my paintings and drawings. These pieces are an example of this expanding media exploration and landscape. Through the translation of marks and colors from earlier works, photographic screen printing and hand dyed canvas have been incorporated. The colors layer light and line through out the pieces. The building up of depth adds to the many layers that lie within my own recovery. Reflection and repetition while painting allows me to live within those layers, while creating objects that represent and exemplify the struggle and beauty of this moment in my life. The end result is of the mapping of these experiences that may leave a viewer lost or possibly found within my own recovery.

ARTWORK:
(image with three pieces)
Untitled: Pen and Ink on Paper
20.5 x 28.5” framed
2020, $200.00

Untitled: Pen and Ink on Paper
20.5 x 28.5” framed
2020, $200.00

Untitled: Pen and Ink on Paper
20.5 x 28.5” framed
2020, $200.00

(image with six pieces: top row, left to right)
Untitled: Pen and Ink on Paper
21 x 17” framed
2020, $150.00

Untitled: Pen and Ink on Paper
21 x 17” framed
2020, $150.00

Untitled: Pen and Ink on Paper
21 x 17” framed
2020, $150.00

(image with six pieces: bottom row, left to right)
Untitled: Pen and Ink on Paper
17 x 21” framed
2021, $150.00

Untitled: Pen and Ink on Paper
17 x 21” framed
2020, $150.00

Untitled: Pen and Ink on Paper
17 x 21” framed
2021, $150.00

(next image)
Untitled: Hand Dyed Punch Needle Rug, Wool and Acrylic Yarn on Burlap
33 x 33” framed
2020, $400.00

(next image)
Untitled: Mixed Media on Canvas
75 x 126”
2021, $1,500.00

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Palpable Tensions

BIO:
Emily Wardell is an artist interested in language, technological processes and perception. They have exhibited work in New York, Chicago, Richmond, VA, Doha, Qatar, and their work is featured in the fall/winter 2021 issue of Cream City Review. Emily holds an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Website: emilykwardell.com

STATEMENT:
Using historically and politically informed research, my work seeks to investigate the nature of perception of images and history, and to explore the ways in which information is understood through different means of mediation. Weaving in personal perspective and poetic elements, I seek to deconstruct perception by exploring surface, and the fidelity of different means of transmission of image, text and appearance.

My most recent work confronts themes of memory and how information is collectively and personally remembered via images. As technology stores more and more of our range of perception, we begin to use terms in which machines store information to refer to our own perception of the past. I wanted to use this work to examine the role of digital surveillance, our sense of political and personal violence, and ideology and its personal effects on our sense of self.

Although a digital image is in some ways an exact reproduction of a certain moment or reality, it does not reflect the experience that occurred in the actual moment that was reproduced. These pieces are various explorations of this medium, and the idea of the imperceptibility of a memory or an event. I have begun to examine the role of my own subjectivity and the struggle to relate certain experiences of individual trauma, and shared trauma experienced via imagery and writing. Examining the medium and viewer’s associations with it as well as how this affects recollection have become key questions. I’m interested in the way information is revealed and withheld, altered, and informed.

Navigating the distance between oneself and events--not only collective events that can be understood as historical, but individual seeing and remembrance--is a concept important to the evolution of my connection to others and interacting with the world as a global citizen. With the constant incursion of information relating to violence, and separately violence itself, deconstructing my vision and understanding of images has become a vital thread in my work.

ARTWORK:
(day one with 16mm)
photo-etching from 16mm film and pencil on paper
13x30”
price available upon request

Day two (No Delicacies by Ingeborg Bachmann)
photo-etching and pencil on paper
13x30”
price available upon request

In Hollywood Cemetery I
wood dust and graphite powder, embossing on wove paper
24x48”
price available upon request

In Hollywood Cemetery II
wood dust and graphite powder, embossing on wove paper
24x48”
price available upon request

Untitled Discarnate
wood dust and pigment powder, embossing on dyed wove paper
23.5 x 12”
price available upon request

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Palpable Tensions

BIO:
Fernie Frye is a narrative illustrator, zine maker, and game designer from a small town in the Appalachian Mountains. Fernie’s work has been included in Indie Isle and other notable Artist Alley’s at some of the nation’s largest comic book conventions on the east coast. Most recently they completed an artist residency for the Sequential Artist’s Workshop (S.A.W.) in Gainesville Florida.

STATEMENT:
My current work explores my own childhood nostalgia with an eerie or unsettling twist. As you age, memories become elusive and childhood becomes this mystical place that, once left, you can never return to. As a result I combine my own strange memories with simple materials that I worked with throughout childhood, such as colored pencils, markers, or scraps of fabric or other scrap material. My work seeks to explore the large emotions and feelings experienced in childhood such as isolation, loss, confusion, and growth with honesty and brevity.

ARTWORK:
Drowning Dude
Hand Dyed Fabric, Ink, Digital, on paper
13 x 13” framed
2020, $45

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