Hard / Soft explores the complications with traditional binary gender roles and perceptions of the masculine and feminine through sculpture.
The work of Travis Johnson explores the pressures of implied or ingrained masculinity by forcing objects traditionally recognized as masculine into new stories objectified by the process from which they are created. Images of a refined dominance in marketed masculinity are carved out of almost weightless materials or bound up in new structures exploring the weaponization of gender.
China Faith Star’s conceptual approach to presenting the experience of traditional femininity as a byproduct of indoctrination asks us to reach into our own bank of gender experience to approach the work. Creating from discarded elements reft with their own symbolism, the work emerges to tell a story of forced fragility and how that is combated to feel strong.
“This work is a conceptual exploration of what it is to be considered discardable. The feeling of being less valued is a psychological battle experienced by all genders presenting physically or through personality as traditionally feminine.” - China Faith Star
China Faith Star’s immersion in the creative arts began almost 40 years ago in Los Angeles, CA. She practices, studies and works professionally in the following creative fields: 2D, 3D visual art and immersive installation, solo and collaborative musical and performative arts, fashion design, curation, graphic and literary design, poetic expression and publication, coaching, teaching and healing arts.
She currently lives and creates in Olympia, WA where she is the founder, director, lead curator and product designer at CaTMA Contemporary and Transmodern Arts, Olympia’s newest art gallery and exhibition house.
Find some of her past series work at www.chinafaithstar.com
and check out CaTMA Gallery in person at 416 1/2 Washington St. 98501 and online at catma.art (hours on website).
“When I work with found objects, I am preoccupied with the pre-narratives that are bound up with a given object or the combination of objects. I am asking the objects to transmute and hold different narratives. On the one hand, these objects are tools of a trade that is connected to violence, labor, blackness, and culture. I am asking these objects to hold a personal history and a black ontological placement. I am also asking the objects to be art and to be beautiful and to not be concerned with any assumptions.” - Travis Johnson
Travis Johnson has spent the last 3 decades developing his craft as a creative and uses his art to explore the human experience by touching on the whimsical, silly, serious, and sometimes painful side of life. He uses the subtle nuances of classic western world iconography to tell a highly illustrated and visually rich narrative. Along with his visual art, Travis has spent the last 25 years singing throughout the US on various tours with his family singing group Fivacious. He continues to share his music as a solo act. Born in Southern California, where he grew up with his 5 siblings in the Mojave Desert. He is currently based out of Olympia, WA.
“What excites me from a curatorial perspective is placing artwork already being generated from certain conceptual spaces together to create a larger dialogue. This is a challenge when it comes to placing work that can sit together and speak to this greater connection without diffusing or overshadowing each other’s individual voice. This specific show emerged from that very challenge as I knew I wanted to show this specific sculptural work of Travis Johnson’s but was having a dilemma in pairing work that was addressing these concepts organically and with similar weight and attention to the beauty of the form. It wasn’t until he saw sculptural work I had been generating in my own studio last August that this show really came together in a co-curatorial way where an exhibiting artist, in this case Travis, identified the other work, my own, as the missing piece.” - China Star, curator