7 Make Yourself Comfortable

Chris Gismondi — Recent Works

Posted on April 3, 2014

Chris Gismondi creates multi-media explorations of self-identity, repetition and emotional healing.

My art deals largely with themes of self-identity, repetition and emotional healing. My multi-media conceptual works have taken the form of performance, soft sculpture, acrylic painting, mixed media and print. Influences come from a wide range of sources like Yayoi Kusama, Marina Abromovic, Christian Holstad, Rachel Whiteread and Kara Walker to name a few. As a second year Art History and History student at McGill University. I have an interest in critical new art history incorporating queer theory, post-colonialism, feminism and identity politics into scholarship.

Stillborn/Still Born
My conceptual art practice developed largely around themes of self-healing and analyzing personal origins and histories. was an attempt to analyze what it means having the opportunity to life growing up one half of a set of twins. Adapting Kusama’s theories of psychosomatic healing to heal emotionally from processes of repetition were linked to theories to obliterate the viewer into art and conceptual explore the aesthetics of repetition.

Make Yourself Comfortable
This work was an opportunity to conceptually explore notions of positive and negative space and positive and negative human experiences. Drawing on notions of humiliation, submission, discomfort and manipulation touching on BDSM culture inspired from Holstad’s work. Rachel Whiteread and explorations of negative mold casting were important features of the work also.

Naked Happenings 2013
This piece has recently been exhibited for the first time after censorship in a retrospective climate of gender. The male naked untrue to realistic representation-leaving out body modification that ruptures my normative “white” “male” aesthetic- is situated in a Kusama nude anti-war protest. The body paint obliterates model into abstraction, while the camouflage is paradoxical as the result of the drastic variations in style result in both a rejection and absorption into conformity.

Arctic Conquistador
These pro to type works are about reconciling the desire to be a queer, white, male artist and still represent the inherently colonial sites of the arctic in a respectful way after engaging in critical scholarship. These works attempt to use contemporary media as a guise to prevent a colonial or problematic historical representation of these sites. The works are digital photographs, digitally altered, printed, painted and collaged to try to prevent a colonial representation. Silhouettes were inspired by Kara Walker’s racially charged historic images. Black silhouettes are an attempt to assert sites of modernity-student explorers or imposed technologies- as in excess of these sites are they are additive to the piece. The white silhouettes are meant to evoke sites of traditional imagery and are subtractive, being cut into the work. Both elements are meant to call into question what the expectations of arctic life “should be”. The use of polka dots is thematically important to allude to a passing of time and reiterate that these modern sites cannot be viewed without a consideration of their historic past. Overall I was hopping the over processed images would speak to my anxiety as attempting to be both the representational artist and the critical social justice activist.

Chris Gismondi studied Honours Art History & History at McGill University.


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