Anima Rising, LA art scene
I attended Anima Rising, an art exhibit exploring androgyny and gender roles. Photographs and paintings were by Andrew Printer, Eleni Diamantopoulos, Julia Schwartz, Leta Evaskus, and Wolfgang Bauer.
The night the complimentary exhibit opened at the Gay and Lesbian Center Village, it was a beautiful Los Angeles evening. The air was crisp and cool and the lights glowing from the exhibit made the gallery look like a little ivory jewel box from the street.
Allison Moon was the curator and led me to the first artist I spoke with, Julia Schwartz. For years, she has worked as a psychoanalyst. Her portraits were fragile, and tender, the way one runs a hand over lightly bruised skin. I read Julia’s web site where she was quoted as saying that people use their intellect to defend themselves.
I asked her if she really thought that. “As a psychoanalyst, I think we use whatever we’ve got, to protect ourselves, to hide.” Then she burst into soft laughter at how solemn she sounded. Julia went on to discuss Martin Heideigger’s quote: bare subject without a world never is.
“You are embedded in the world. You cannot remain in isolation. Sexuality is also contextual. You need multiple points of reference. Even some of the things that identify you as male or female, gay or straight, is stripped away and it’s how you are psychologically in the world. With some of the portraits I clearly had gender in mind…it’s really interesting to look at them. I don’t identify them gender wise…in fact I didn’t set out to make them androgynous necessarily. I just began to take away layers and this is what emerged.”
One of her pieces has medical gauze worked in with the paint. Some of her portraits at the exhibit show hairless, unadorned people.
I told Julia, “You go in with a mindset and you come back with something else. They are both hairless which in this instance makes them vulnerable….and yet the strongest pieces. We all have masculine and feminine inside of us. To pretend otherwise is dangerous. That’s what I get when I look at your work tonight. Has this selection surprised you? “
Julia marveled, “I shocked myself. I sort of wanted to see something to bridge my painting and my psychoanalytical work. I revealed more than I expected.”
The next artist I spoke to was Leta Evaskus who sat