Boundaries protect us, but they are also sites of violation. This tension is at the heart of my work, which explores the power dynamics that underwrite our most intimate and vulnerable spaces: our bodies, our minds, our homes, and our identities. Using language/text, the femme body, and a variety of unusual materials, I construct objects and experiences that call attention to the lines that separate me from you and mine from yours. In Believe Her; Them; Us emergency blankets are pieced together to create three wearable jackets. The words “If Only You Had Listened” are woven into the surface of the jackets. The practical application for emergency blanket is to stay warm and signal for help in emergency situations. In this work, however, the blankets represent a symbolic means to an end, a protective layer, and an emblem of survival. This work is part of a series that is honest and vulnerable and offer the viewer glimpses into memories of trauma and the lengths we will go to protect ourselves and each other. To heal oneself one must also offer space for collective healing.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Alex McClay lives and works in Cincinnati, Ohio as an interdisciplinary artist, a professor in Printmaking at the University of Cincinnati and the 2022 Artist-in-Residence at Tiger Lily Press. She graduated with a MFA in Studio Art from the University of Georgia in 2021. She received her BFA in Photography and Sculpture from the University of Cincinnati in 2014. She was a Core Fellow at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina from 2016-2018, where she studied craft in many forms, including textiles, metals, printmaking, book arts and papermaking. Her current practice engages language, material, and the human body to question and disrupt the power dynamics present in our most intimate and vulnerable spaces. Her work has been included in multiple exhibitions and venues across the United States, including Weston Art Gallery (Cincinnati, OH), ArtSpace (Raleigh, NC), Haggerty Gallery (Dallas TX), Robert C Williams Museum of Papermaking (Atlanta, GA), and Marcia Wood Gallery (Atlanta, GA).
© Alex McClay