March 1-30, 2013
505 S. Blount Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Gallery hours - Saturdays 1 - 5pm and by appointment during the week.
The gallery text sums up hateful like this, "Hateful creates, manipulates, and collages images in order to play with notions of femininity and masculinity, juxtaposing archival and contemporary photographs to reveal gendered concerns as timeless performances. Hateful is a collaboration between Tory Wright, based in North Carolina where she works in visual merchandising, and Lydia Moyer, based out of Virginia where she teaches art at the University of Virginia. Along with a cast of occasional collaborators, Wright and Moyer use Hateful as a platform to do things that don’t fit neatly into their individual studio practices and to take risks they might never take on their own."
What immediately strikes me when entering the gallery is the low-production quality of such riveting images, made my enlarging and Xeroxing images from Tory Wright and Lydia Moyer's 'zines, that are taped to the wall with black cloth tape. Each strip of tape could cover a mouth or a nipple. The prints (copies, posters, pages) can be had for a song, $5, $10 and $20. I bought two. Like the 'zines that birthed this exhibition, these images can be distributed cheaply and reference their own production – many images haven been taken from fashion magazines and vintage photographs – from mass, mechanical-digital reproduction to the fetishistic original. One can't help but think of Felix Gonzalez-Torres paper stacks that eternally get taken and are replenished, but most of his stacks are clean and minimal. Hateful employs a much more condensed and chaotic aesthetic, keeping company with Hannah Hoch, John Heartfield, John Stezaker and they do not arrange their paper diatribes in neat stacks like good little post-minimalists.
It is as if you are reading a book on the wall, or looking through one of Hannah Hoch's spectacular scrapbooks: images collide; animals become women; orifices are suddenly orbs; women replicate like twins or mirror images of their fragmented selves; decorative abstract patterns take over landscapes and faces like Yayoi Kusama's hallucinatory polka-dots; birds are blindfolded; creatures are turned sideways and the dead can not always be differentiated from the living.
While hateful is collaborative and somewhat spontaneous, it is clear that these two women know their art history, photographic practices and theory and they love to play. As much as I agree with the gallery text, that this work addresses gender and the archive, it seems to be as much about vision and representation and the slippages within both. A tattooed woman's face slips down behind her chin while two birds face her, perched on branches, their eyes blacked out. There is one very disturbing historical image – is it Chinese or Japanese? People are huddled together under tattered clothes and blankets, some mysterious limbs and bandaged heads, disfigured bodies appear in the foreground. It is a dark and sad image. Next to this image, in a clean field of white, hateful has placed the word MEAN. Whoever is responsible for the pain depicted is mean. But is the representation and re-representation also mean?
We are a hateful species basing our economic (capitalist) system on greed and profit, consumption and destruction. Rape is hateful; sexist, homophobic, and racist imagery is hateful; even seductive fashion magazine imagery condones a culture of self-hate through anorexic depictions and unsustainable luxury. Hateful knows all this and they are spitting back with their own subversive, strategic, feminist, interventionist, revisionist and satirical collages, heterotopias.
elin o'Hara slavick
Find a collaborative notebook here:
Watch a short video clip here: