Local look: chico
MUSINGS ON THE CHICO ART SCENE
Looking back to the last time I was able to review a show, I can tell the women in me are tired.
This is also the title of a two-artist show at 1078 Gallery. The pair intersected in a Southern Oregon-based collective (Animus Collective founded by KYRIANNA). Isabella K. Saavedra describes her work as, “…a record of reactions to my own lived experiences, historical and generational trauma, and collective trauma taking place in our country the last few years.” KYRIANNA’s work aims at a 3-layer impact, "to provide a therapeutic experience for the people in the paintings, for viewers with chronic conditions to feel seen and represented, and to increase social consciousness and compassion around these conditions and what it’s like to live with them.”
There is so much unearthed between them. The pain and sensations of various disorders as KYRIANNA paints represented as fluttering butterflies, stabbing cactus needles, mawing termites. I wonder what these sensations would feel like in my own body. Saavedra’s work literally deals with the excavation of native bodies in Canada, and the terrifying result of being a women and person of color during recent political times, with scrawled language and haunting figures.
Together, their work makes a beautiful partnership. Saavedra’s tactile surfaces contrast stirringly with the polished surrealism of KYRIANNA’s watercolor portraits. Visually it encompasses so many feelings, and as I stare in the eyes of KYRIANNA’s portraits, the hard edges of my fatigue begin to soften. I love them, and I want to continue the work in my field helping folks understand how we normalize bodies, as there are always vast groups of people left out. I love Saavedra and want to improve the world and ease her anxieties. The woman in me with a searing lump in my throat and hot water gathering in the corners of my eyes remembers that I love.
The woman in me that is tired from keeping my blended family together under times of stress, the woman in me that is tired from trying to motivate and see and care for hundreds of people every year in a virtual classroom, the woman in me that aches from the polarization of so many people I care for, the woman in me that is tired from watching the gaps widen to a seemingly irreparable depth, the woman in me that is tired from feeling like I am doing nothing while people are dying and suffering, the woman in me that is so tired she doesn’t even look like me anymore, is not remedied but, now, not so sore and choked.
Please go see it. And if you see me there, please say hello? I love you too.
On view until February 13th, 2022. Gallery hours are Friday-Sunday 10am-2pm. 1710 Park Ave. Chico, CA 95928, FREE.
Sara Smallhouse is tenure-track faculty in Art History at Butte College, teaches every once in a while at CSU, Chico, and is on the Board of Directors of monca (Museum of Northern California Art). She likes to walk around and look at things with her family, friends, or solo.