The UNO-St. Claude Gallery exhibition season kicks off Saturday night with an exhibit curated by alumna Natalie Woodlock that showcases work by LGBTQ artists and their communities. The exhibit, called “Wildfire: an exhibition of work exploring Queer Temporality, Futurity and the Archive,” opens at 6 p.m.
“Wildfire” features new work by 10 contemporary queer artists and investigates the queer archive, representations of queer and trans identities, looks at what it means to be black in the present moment and commemorates underground queer subcultures, said fine arts professor and gallery director Anthony Campbell.
The exhibition is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots that gave birth to the modern gay liberation movement, Campbell said. Born in flames, this movement spread like wildfire, demanding liberation and freedom for all.
The gallery, located at 2429 St. Claude Ave., is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. The exhibit, which runs through Sept. 8, includes:
• Chris Berntsen and Ruth Ex's collaborative video, Reflectus, layers archival film footage with contemporary images. This work explores queer desire, connection and collective memory. Reflectus bridges a generational gap divided through time, AIDS and changing technology, blending the images to connect eras, bodies, and communities often considered disparate.
• Raven Crane and Malik Perriloux's performative work investigates what it means to be black in the past, present and future. Together they explore how the history of slavery and colonialism in America impacted the country's foundation and our present reality.
• Colin Roberson takes intimate portraits of the underground world of hustlers and male dancers. Paired with photographs of friends hanging out and intimate moments from his own life, his black and white photographs depict a world where money, sex and desire are interconnected and central.
• Río Sofia's self-portraiture investigates representations of gender in forced feminization pornography. A transgender woman, Sofia's work uses the visual language of sissification porn, restaging scenes and narratives that speak back to the complex relationships between gender, transformation and power.
• Ashley Teamer's works on canvas explore black femininity within the realm of competitive sports. Utilizing the imagery from trading cards and other sports ephemera, Teamer's large scale works are manifestations of black female liberation.
• Meg Turner and Courtney Webster's collaborative photo-based work imagines a future that is not yet here. They re-stage historical narratives, inserting the body of Webster, a black woman, into scenes usually reserved for a white male hero. Creating images centering Webster as both subject and object, the artists seek to create an alternate lexicon that makes visible what previously has been erased.
• Natalie Woodlock's portraits of queer subjects on satin banners commemorate an underground queer community influenced by punk, radical social movements and the hedonism of gay party culture.
A queer film program at Zeitgeist coincides with the exhibition. This program presents a small selection of predominantly contemporary filmmaking exploring issues of concern to queer communities, artists and activists today.