Ben Aqua, Felipe Baeza, Xavier Schipani, Silky Shoemaker, riel Sturchio, and Jaimie Warren

01/19/2018 - 02/24/2018


There are no longer binary machines: question-answer, masculine-feminine, man-animal, etc. This could be what a conversation is – simply the outline of a becoming.

-Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet, Dialogues

MASS Gallery is pleased to present Proxemics, an exhibition featuring six artists who wield the human body as a tool for communication through character creation, distortion, and documentation:  Ben Aqua (Austin, TX), Felipe Baeza (Brooklyn, NY), Xavier Schipani (Austin, TX), Silky Shoemaker (Oakland, CA), riel Sturchio (Austin, TX), and Jaimie Warren (Brooklyn, NY).

Bodies, selves, others, and other selves are presented in unrestricted and unapologetic forms. These figures take up space, and new contexts are laid bare. Representations transcend classic depictions of the human form, investigating perceptions of assumed, controlled, or reclaimed identity. In proximity to each other, the work in Proxemicsexamines how a body may be critiqued or claimed, presented or perceived.

Proxemics will be on view at MASS Gallery from January 19th through February 24th, with an opening party on January 19th from 7-10pm.

Stay tuned for additional exhibition related public events as part of MASS’ public programming series, Close Encounters.

About the Artists

Ben Aqua is a multidisciplinary artist based in Austin, Texas. Born in Brooklyn, New York, his visual work has been exhibited internationally and published in Rolling Stone, NPR, NYLON, SPIN, NME, Flaunt, Bloomberg Businessweek, OUT, ARKITIP, XLR8R, Beautiful/Decay, Rhizome, Hi-Fructose, JOGGING and Fecal Face. His music has been featured by Interview, The Creators Project, Mad Decent, DFA, VICE, Dummy Mag, FACT, Modular, URB, BUTT and Opening Ceremony. He also runs the experimental art & music label #FEELINGS.

Felipe Baeza, born in Guanajuato, Mexico, works primarily with painting and collage as a tool to create political spaces, Baeza’s recent projects consider how memory, migration and displacement work to create a state of hybridity and fugitivity. Utilizing his own biography to reflect on personal experiences and to explore the persistent effects of social institutions and cultural practices on the individual. Baeza’s art practice aims to imagine structures and possibilities for the self-emancipation of the hybrid-fugitive body that lives in/is persistently subjected to hostile conditions. He received his BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 2009, and is currently an 2018 MFA Candidate in the Painting/Printmaking program at Yale School of Art. Lives between Brooklyn, NY and New Haven, CT. He is the 2017 recipient of the The Robert Schoelkopf Memorial Traveling Fellowship and The Josef & Anni Albers Foundation Fellowship.

Xavier Schipani is an artist operating out of East Austin, Texas. His work explores urgent socio-political themes, with a specific focus on sex and gender and how society’s restrictive approach to these subjects causes dysfunction and incites fear. Actively inviting his audience to be turned on by his images, that often feature either literal or abstract representations of non-binary figures, creates an experimental atmosphere, where the sexual and gender norms are momentarily relaxed and a space for self-exploration appears.

Silky Shoemaker is a performer, visual artist, and community organizer living in Oakland, CA. She makes work that explores the absurdity and profundity of queer life and culture. Silky’s work has been seen in venues such as Arthouse at the Jones Center (Austin), The Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Joe’s Pub (NYC) as well as punk houses and nursing homes around the world. Silky co-created GAYBIGAYGAY Queer Music Fest in Texas and also curated the world’s first Gay Wax Museum.

riel Sturchio was born in Maine and currently lives in Austin, TX. Riel received a BFA in Photography from the Maine College of Art in Portland, ME (2012) and is currently an MFA candidate in Photography at the University of Austin, Texas (2018). Riel Sturchio’s work often revolves around the body, identity, language, and gender, which coalesces through photography, bookmaking, poetry, music, sound, and videography. Sturchio’s work has been widely supported by grants including the John Anson Kittredge Fund, The Maine Arts Commission, The Alexia Foundation, and Google, and has been exhibited in several venues, including most recently a two-person solo show called Body is a Bridge at the Visual Arts Center in Austin, Texas.

Jaimie Warren is a photographer and performance artist creating works both independently as well as collaboratively with youth and community groups. She was born in 1980 in Waukesha, Wisconsin and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She is co-creator and co-director of the community-engaged and artist-led fake television show Whoop Dee Doo.

Recent solo exhibitions of Warren’s work have been presented in New York at The Hole, Higher Pictures and American Medium, and in California at Helmuth Projects and San Francisco Camerawork. Warren’s work has been highlighted in publications including The New York Times, artnet, ArtNews, New York Magazine, ArtFCity, FOAM, ArtForum and Dazed & Confused, among others.

Warren is a 2017 Brooklyn Arts Council SU-CASA Artist-in Residence, a 2016 Maker’s Muse Awardee, a 2015 fellow in Interdisciplinary Arts from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a 2015 Abrons AIRspace resident. She is the recipient of the 2014 Baum Award for An Emerging American Photographer, and she is the subject of a 2008 monograph published by Aperture. Warren is a featured artist in ART21’s documentary series “New York Close Up”, and she is the recipient of a United States Presidential Scholars Program Teacher Recognition Award.