My work is a balancing act: one between the sensuality of forms and the innocence and playfulness of the materials I use: sparkling rhinestones, oversized plastic gems, feathery pom-poms, sumptuous fabrics, glossy vinyl, and liquid latex. I am interested in how women collectively and individually discover their sexuality through clothing, experiences, and relationships. My work is an ongoing attempt to explore ways to embrace my sexuality in ways that are liberating opposed to limiting and based solely based on conditioned social and familial expectation. There is some in-between area that exists between these two extreme points on a spectrum, a balance I unearth in my work to understand the relationship to my body.
The sculptural wall pieces I make are an unconventional marriage between era-specific jewelry, bodily forms, objects of pleasure, and home décor. They embrace, highlight, and empower sensuality and femininity rather than hiding or denying it, as well as acknowledging the awkwardness, humor, and performance that can come with it. My pieces are interdisciplinary, joining the craft-based mediums of ceramics and fabric with painting and sculpture. I use ceramics in an unconventional way where I begin a piece by creating a high-fired ceramic component then add rhinestones, fabric, and eyeshadow mixed into paint to create a finished piece. The forms I use reflect my interest in adornment and the relentless critique and politicization of the body: they imply bodies, brooches, earrings, and nipple tassels, among other adornments.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Ali Hval (she/her) is an artist currently living and working in Iowa City, Iowa. She earned her MFA from the University of Iowa in Painting and Drawing with honors, and BFA in Painting from the University of Alabama with honors. Her work is interdisciplinary, combining ceramic, fabric, installation, and painting. The forms and materials she uses reflect her interest in adornment and the relentless critique and politicization of the body.
Formerly, Ali was a Visiting Assistant Professor in Painting and Drawing at the University of Iowa. She has received grants from the Iowa Arts Council as well as the nationally competitive Windgate Fellowship by the Center of Craft, Creativity, and Design in Asheville, North Carolina. She has been published in New York Jewelry Week. She was the 2022 Stuart Artist in Residence at South Dakota State University, and a 2020 resident at the Chautauqua School of Art in New York. She has exhibited her work across the country, including at Ceysson y Bénétière in New York City, Site: Brooklyn in New York, and South Bay Contemporary in Los Angeles. She has had mentions in CultBytes and The New Yorker.
Also an avid muralist, Ali has completed over 30 public murals and projects in various communities across the US. These murals have ranged from large-scale projects for nonprofits and municipal entities, to projects which have directly involved community members in the painting and designing process.
© Ali Hval