Surface Tension: Joseph Liatela

Absolutely honored to be curating the work of Bay Area-based artist, Joseph Liatela. Below, you will find the curatorial statement and information about the artist.


The Center for Sex & Culture will open a solo exhibition, featuring the work of Bay Area-based artist Joseph Liatela curated by Dorothy R. Santos on January 12, 2018 and on view through February 16, 2018. The exhibition includes his recent work created during his artist residency at the Kala Art Institute in nearby Berkeley, and the Vermont Studio Center Fellowship. The works explore notions of embodiment, autonomy, surveillance, and visibility.

With our quickly evolving lives inundated by mass media, the world remains a constricted and binary place steeped in white supremacy and gender-based violence. Through textile, installation, and video, Liatela presents materiality as a metaphor for the human body and skin in an ethereal manner harkening a delicate balance between body and mind. Inspired by the scholarship of author and professor Toby Beauchamp, Liatela asks the viewer to meditate and imagine the possibilities of world if such gender performativity defied the binary world we live in today.

The show contains work from Liatela’s Surface Tension series, incorporates medical technology and procedures reminiscent of traditional artistic practices of stitching and sculpture. The delicate nature of the material also carries the moments and essence of a body in transition billowing the spaces it inhabits as a remnants and signs of life. The use of sutures and organza provokes the viewer to look at, look through, and around the works simultaneously. In his video, Artful Concealment and Strategic Visibility, Liatela’s body is quickly revealed and concealed within a landscape analogous to the ways in which the trans body must traverse a multitude of spaces in the world yet remains subject to surveillance and scrutinization.

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About the Artist
Joseph Liatela is an independent multimedia artist based in Oakland, California working in printmaking, performance, and video. His work explores the way we perceive gender, sexuality, the body, memory, trans/queer intergenerational connection, and the self.

He completed his BFA from the Individualized Honors program at California College of the Arts (2017) and has performed/exhibited in numerous galleries/venues, including exhibitions for the the National Queer Arts Festival (2016), the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival (2017), SOMArts (2017), Denniston Hill (2017) , Human Resources LA (2017) and was selected as a participant in the New York Arts Practicum (2016). This fall he was an artist in residence at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California and received a fellowship to Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont.

For more information: http://www.josephliatela.com/


Surface Tension will be on view from January 12, 2018 through February 16, 2018
Opening reception: January 12th, 6-9pm
Artist Talk with scholar and theorist Julian Carter: February 5, 2018 7pm

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