Fashion designer Michael-Birch Pierce to give curator talk at Diversity Richmond this week
Local fashion designer and fiber artist Michael-Birch Pierce will be giving a talk at the gallery he curated named “Manufactured Faces, Performative Spaces” on Jan. 21 at Diversity Richmond.
The name of the gallery is “about the queer experience of having to carefully manufacture and create your own identity and your own spaces is in the world.” Pierce said.
Pierce will be discussing why he curated the gallery the way he did as well as holding a discussion with some of the featured artists on the work that they do and how it connects to the overall meaning of the show.
The point of the discussion is to “see what [the artist’s] thought process was in the act of developing a piece and to gain new meanings,” Pierce said. “It makes you appreciate the work more.”
Even though the artworks will be explained from their creators’ point of view, the curator believes it is important to connect to the pieces based on how they speak to you.
“Everyone should come at it with their own experiences and leave with their own interpretations of the work,” Pierce said.
The diverse mediums featured in the show all unite under the theme of the creation of self and self-made places. The gallery contains local artwork, as well as artists from as far as Alaska and Homburg, Germany.
“I tried to look at artists that were dealing with identity or places that are surreal,” Pierce. “I tried to curate mostly queer artists, but there are some straight artists.”
Another commonality that most of the pieces in the exhibition share is sparkling,reflective surfaces or some other dreamlike quality.
“I think that gay and queer people have to have a very acute awareness of artificiality and of surreality because of the nature of their lives and having to hide a lot of things,” Pierce said. “Which later in life when they come out, everything comes bursting out because you’ve been holding it in for so long.”
“In my own experience, you spend a lot of time being somebody that you’re not so you become just drawn to artificiality and costumes and performative identities and spaces.”
This idea of being “drawn” to synthetic characteristics and creating your own identity is very evident in the exhibition with pieces that are smoothly coated in glitter as well as an interactive doll where you can create its facial features.
The gallery his work is displayed in at Diversity Richmond was revamped last summer and has only held one other group of works.
According to Pierce, this show is the first curated specifically for the space.
A portion of the profits from art sold will go to funding the gallery in its future ventures in aiding the Richmond community.
The location is also simultaneously being used as meeting spaces for various local groups, such as one dealing with domestic abuse survivors.
Pierce will be joined by local, featured artists Leigh Suggs and Thomas Condon in Diversity’s gallery at its location 1407 Sherwood Ave on Jan. 21. Doors will be at 6:30. For more information you can visit here.
If you can’t make it to the talk, you can visit the gallery through Feb. 19.
Inspired by her rural Virginia roots, Paige Crichter brings “Hinterland” exhibit to Diversity Richmond
“This body of work came out of a desire to look what was around in my own backyard… and to look at it deeply and in a way that I hadn’t before,”January 9, 2017
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