Beyond the Binary is an ongoing multimedia exhibition and social practice creating safe spaces for women to explore the connection between the vast spectrum of womanhood and nature. It is an anatomical and psychological co creation between my subjects and I, where photographing and documenting one’s nude body becomes a space of developing sisterhood, trust, truths, and healing. Hyper local to globally, I aspire to continue creating and contributing to and safe spaces of discourse, voice, support, and truth.
The ongoing exhibit is a project curated by Columbia College Chicago grad, artist, curator, gallery owner and photographer Janice Bond. Bond describes herself as a combination of “Northern edge”, “Midwest will”, and “Southern hospitality.” We asked her a few questions about her exhibit below which is currently being featured at the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago. The exhibit is also being co-featured amongst Abandoned Margins: Policing The Female Body, which will also host their own separate artist talk on February 20th. If you’re in Chicago, be sure to attend Bond’s artist talk on Beyond The Binary.
1) If you were to sum up the need for this exhibition in one sentence, what would you say?
The landscape of beauty beckons to be revealed and seen in as many ways as possible until and even as society’s lens continues to change.
2) Is there anything specifically about your everyday life in Chicago that inspired this exhibit?
Chicago has influenced much of my creative and curatorial practice, more from the viewing it through the lens of a global citizen, as I consider myself to be. Chicago has its injustices; it also has its powerful cultural history, roots, and beauty. Beauty is complex and nonlinear. When I first relocated to Chicago, I was enamored with the Black women I met over the age of 50. So regal! So educated and full of integrity! So stylish! I am continuously inspired by the pride and histories of Chicago’s black families, art, and communities (such as Bronzeville). So much rich cultural history lies against the backdrop of the intergenerational violence inflicted upon the Black community here. Much of the violence is/has been physical, even more of systemic.
I’ve lived all over Chicago in my years here, from Roseland (far south) to Rogers Park (far north). I remember riding the red line, overhearing the conversations of young ladies, teens, conversations at the bus stop or with one of my mentors about life and relations here for people of color. Where has it been? Where is it going? If you’re lucky, you’ll learn early in life to discover different ways of listening, perhaps develop the capacity to absorb as much as you can without internalizing it, becoming fearful or angry. It’s that healthy balance between remaining sensitive and open, and mental, physical, and emotional self-preservation that I’ve learned here. I have my own thoughts, research, and interest, but it’s those experiences that have contributed to the overall thinking and presentation overall.
3) Can you tell us more information about the Beyond The Binary Artist Talk?
The artist talk for Beyond the Binary is February 11, 2016 7pm at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, Illinois. I’ll be co-hosting a dialogue with attendees about the female body in general, and how we can continue to recalibrate western, patriarchal and white supremacist standards and influences of the female body and its beauty. Beyond the Binary is a work in progress, as we all are.
All photos provided courtesy of the artist, Janice Bond. View more of her work here