April 11, 2017 by: Natalie Fleming
Ill at Ease: Dis-ease in Art
April 13 – May 12, 2017
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 13, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Department of Art Gallery
B45 Center for the Arts
University at Buffalo, North Campus
What is illness? Where is it? How does it mark bodies and spaces? Ill at Ease explores these questions, tracing the contours of illness, disease, and dis-ease in art and society.
Ill at Ease: Dis-ease in Art is an art exhibition curated by PhD student Conor Moynihan, organized through the University at Buffalo, Department of Art Gallery, sponsored by UB Humanities Institute (HI) Queer Studies Research Workshop, Center for Disability Studies, HI Disability Studies Research Workshop, Technē Institute, HI Performance Research Workshop, and the HI Science Studies Research Workshop.
Ill at Ease: Dis-ease in Art takes “illness” as a starting point and makes trouble with this troubling term. After all, what is illness? Where is it? And how does it interact with us? It seems obvious: disease and illness are “things” that we do not want. But what exactly do we “not” want? Illness constantly misbehaves. It always exceeds where we place it and what we name it. No matter where or what it is, however, illness demands that we feel something.
This exhibition re-considers and re-orients “illness,” as each artist marks and places the feeling of illness somewhere, at times locating it within, between, or beyond bodies. Rain Lucien Matheke, Frani Evedon, Ann Moody, Molly Alloy, and Phil Hastings take us into the body, emphasizing the ways illness unfolds within. Ames Hawkins, Joan Giroux, Moira Williams, Van Tran Nguyen, and Christopher Tanner move us between bodies, creating interactions. Finally, Shan Kelley, Carrie C Firman, Vincent Tiley, and Vika Kirchenbauer lead us beyond the body, over time and space, and through institutions.
The resonances between these works and ourselves disturb any one definition, location, or feeling of “illness.” Broadened to an uneasy understanding of ourselves among others, disease/dis-ease is never about individual bodies. All bodies—ill or not-so-ill—become vulnerable and precarious together. Nonetheless, the specific social and political realities that produce vulnerability for particular bodies must be held in focus even as those situations seem to slip out of sight. The stakes are high because we might always become that body.
Ill at Ease: Dis-ease in Art re-spatializes and re-constructs disease/dis-ease/dis-ease as something within, between, and beyond us all. Ultimately, we must wonder what it really means when we say, “I feel sick.”
Ill at Ease is accompanied by a catalogue, which includes a foreword by Joseph Varisco, an introduction by Conor Moynihan, and essays by Matthew Ballou, Andrew Barron, Kylie Boazman, Jamie DiSarno, Elif Ege, Natalie Fleming, Ann Fox, Whitney Huber, Natalie Kennedy, Benjamin Kersten, MC Koch, sarah jm kolberg, Alyssa Schwendener, and Dana Tyrrell. Complimentary copies available, while supplies last, at the exhibition.