Juried art show displays art work with sex themes
By Sarah Boyum
Catherine Johnson-Roehr, curator of art, artifacts and photographs at the Kinsey Institute, was one of three jurors for the event. For this year’s show, 713 entries were submitted, and the jury panel selected work from 101 artists.
“Every year we hold a competition for the Juried Art Show,” Johnson-Roehr said. “We invite artists to submit one to three pieces for consideration by a panel of three judges.
The pieces that receive the highest rankings by the jurors are accepted for the exhibition.”
Best in Show and Gallery Visitor’s Choice are two awards artwork is considered for. Artist Mary Mazziotti won Best in Show with her piece “Death Gets Married,” a multi-panel cloth embroidery. Gallery visitors vote to determine Gallery Visitor’s Choice, which has not yet been announced.
Oil painting, sculpture, metalwork, jewelry and photography were just a few of the varied methods artists used when creating their pieces.
Testicle-shaped cupcakes in bright colors were displayed next to a nipple-adorned necklace titled “My Eyes are Up Here.” Pieces of a chess set represented different reproductive body parts.
Heather Saunders’ “Gender Reveal Cake” consisted of a brown lingerie-covered cake with a pink tutu on the inside. This work is a commentary on the trend of parents asking that their baby’s sex be revealed through a cake, which is typically neutral on the outside with either pink or blue icing on the inside to signify the gender.
Julia Kozerski used photography to focus on the weight-loss struggle and how people chase after the dream of becoming the “perfect person.” Devin Balara observed the excessive display of male strength in society and used this idea to construct a “protruding obtrusive phallic form” using steel, wood and 290 bolts.
Aiden Smith, a graduate student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, displayed a photograph of a naked and shaven Smith posed in child-like fashion.
“The only visual part of my body that signifies me as a male is my body hair, and it is so easily removed,” Smith said.
Smith uses photography to analyze the relationship between himself and his camera. He explores different layers and identities of himself, both as a person and a
Jay Burton also displayed a photograph, titled “Anticipation.” This work features a series of 16 separate photographs, each portraying a different view of a tulip. Burton said he enjoys creating a “controlled ambiguity” in his work and would not explain the meaning behind it, hoping viewers would create their own interpretation of the piece.
“(‘Anticipation’) is a Kinsey piece,” Burton said. “It’s obviously sexual and sensual.”
The Kinsey Institute also organized other events that connected with the gallery opening of the Juried Art Show. An open house and artist talk were staged Saturday afternoon, and the artists were invited to the Burlesque Ball on Saturday at Jake’s Nightclub. Attendees were encouraged to dress up.
The artist talk allowed artists to offer a more in-depth explanation of their work and field questions from the audience and other artists. Tom Hill, whose art was featured in the show, praised the show and the artists during his presentation.
“I feel very akin to the people in this room being able to present themselves in certain ways, to be honest and authentic and try to reflect that in your art,” he said. “I just feel like I’m in very good company.”
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