Dear Shaded Viewers,
By means of its current exhibition on view, ” IRL: Investigating Reality,” the Untitled Space Gallery continues to shake up its polished and undeniably fashionable Tribeca neighborhood with art representations that challenge the status quo. The exhibition is open through Tribeca Art + Culture Night, the evening of Thursday, June 20th, including 40 artists of all gender and sexual orientation surveying the influence our digitally fixated society governs one’s experience of reality.
“IRL” messaging jargon for “In Real Life,” refers to an honest exclamation — a revealing text or an unedited photo shared online — that subjects reality. In a safe space designed for artists to express themselves openly and unapologetically, curator Indira Cesarine gathered mix media art, including photographers, painters, and illustrators to contribute works that reveals a reality unlike the glossy images favoring Instagram likes. Perhaps, this is the consequence for honesty. Contributing photographer Logan White shares, “I believe that real life is that of waking life and dreaming life, the description of one is informed by the other, and that magic is the purest pursuit of truth. In this exhibition the featuring artist projected their experiences, hopes and dreams into their work. As a result, the gallery’s walls are stimulated with passion, intimacy and liberty.
Therein also exists charged emotion. Cesarine’s “Escape in New York,” photographs a naked female subject fleeing the city, Annika Connor’s “I Hurt All the Time,” illustrates a female holding a disappointed face in her hands, while Karen Maineinti’s flowery rebrands a Pabst Blue Ribbon Tallboy with, “I Might Have Been Too Emotional.” The conveyed anxiety from these works connects a fearful emotion to the female identity. Among such works, artist Linda Friedman Schmidt presents “Seeing through the Wool,” a small 8.5″ x 6.5,” yet convicting art piece that depicts a pulsating peeping eye emerging from a hiding place. Fear is evident in this beautifully dark artwork. The power of this piece comes from within the artist’s narrative. As a daughter of Holocaust survivors, Schmidt was raised through the trauma and hardships her family experienced as refugees. She found a medium in yarn and discarded clothing to create art, and with these materials, remakes a life stricken by the anxiety and fears from her childhood memories.
Subservience to emotions such as fear, the carnal, and household roles projected unto women is combative fuel for the work of artist Kat Toronto. Toronto explains of her alias Miss Meatface, “Through the act of placing Miss Meatface in the role of dominatrix housewife the cultural stereotypes of gender roles and the kink subculture can be subverted and questioned in a playful way. Miss Meatface may be the perfect hostess, but it’s not because she is the submissive 1950’s housewife, it is because she is an intelligent, strong, woman and she is damn good at being the perfect hostess.”
This show empowers the light within everyone. Though often concealed, reality is present in the fantasies of online dating, in the same way timidity has been attributed to the female spirit. If truth is not rallied by protest, or published in a memoir, it is exhibited through artistic expression and community. Certainly, sometimes the truth hurts, but it’s far beyond better than photo edited, feigned affection: fake news.