Modified Arts presents Daydreaming, a group exhibition of artists capturing self, free from the restraints of consciousness. Artists Angela Masker, Anitah Diggs, The Lady Egg, Bre Kohlmeyer and Remi Koebel dive into the surreal through personal and universal narratives, symbolic data collection and release, and through connections and juxtapositions that stimulate understanding of the subconscious.
What is the role of the subconscious?
The subconscious is the information that exists in the mind and influences our everyday actions and feelings however, it is not immediately accessible to the aware mind. Surrealism itself is rooted in the process of bringing to light the subconscious by following the mind’s stream of thought and depicting imagery as unconventionally as it presents itself.
Naturally, the process brings the artist introspective where events, emotions, memory, and strong imagery come to mind. The amalgamation of this presents itself as compositions that are dreamlike, uncanny and fantastical. Within the imagery is a diary of information that the artist can disseminate to bring understanding of the innermost self. Even in the most cathartic presentations can liberation of the mind be found. As perceptions of self are fractured, anxieties are addressed and epiphanies are experienced, new understandings of self are formed that manifest as newly conscious realities.
If reality is made through our minds’ perception, can the subconscious be more communicative to understanding self than reality?
How does the imagery of an artist connect to the subconscious of a viewer?
Curated by Katherine Del Rosario and Melissa Koury. Support provided by Modified Arts, Kimber Lanning and Merryn Alaka
Featured photo by Remi Koebel, Patron Saint of Unwanted Advances
Angela Masker (she/they) is a lesbian artist based in Phoenix, Arizona. Her work centers around self, memory, and personal experience. Most of her recent works are self-portraits primarily in oil paint and watercolor. She strives to construct her compositions in a manner that others may project their own stories or sentiments onto them and see themselves within the work as well. Her artist practice is, at its core, cathartic, introspective, and healing. It is both a coping mechanism and an escape – exploring daydreams, subconscious, and alternate realities. Masker is a recent graduate from ASU and over the past two years has exhibited in several online exhibitions and has had work published in several magazines including Lux Undergraduate Creative Review, Lesbians Are Miracles Magazine, Queer Quarterly, and En Bloc.
Artist Statement: The majority of my works are self-portraits, with my body serving as a tool or metaphor to communicate events, emotions, transformations, and other turmoil I have grappled with. Often these “events” in my works are cryptic, symbolic, and constructed in a manner so that others may project their own stories or sentiments onto them. Above all, my work has always been cathartic, a coping mechanism, an escape into surrealist fantasy where emotions can be processed in secure and private spaces.My compositions revolve around memory, trauma, mental health, and queer identity. Intrusive thoughts, fond memories, anxieties about the future, and subconscious musings all bubble to the surface, often in unexpected ways. Developing these concepts typically relies on stream of consciousness drawing, thus the works reflect my thoughts and state of mind in the moment of their creation. The stream of consciousness outcome generally serves as a springboard toward a finished piece, prompting further exploration and research into symbolism, probing ideas, and delving deeper into memory. Many of my pieces demonstrate a healing process. The solace that I found in creating art brought me joy and fulfillment during a difficult and complicated period in my life, developing a dynamic visual timeline to complement complex events and an ever-changing state of mind. Each piece acts as a documentation or an entry in a non-verbal diary of sorts. Like pages in a diary the works are small and intimate; one must get up close and personal to view them
Anitah Diggs is a portrait photographer and creative director based in Phoenix, Arizona. She began portrait photography in 2017, and since then has expanded into fashion, editorials and various creative projects. Her work is inspired by fashion, poc culture, surrealism and color.
Artist Statement: The series “Girls Who Cry” explores themes of emotional release experienced by women, highlighting the different ways crying is experienced. In a time where being an emotional woman is often perceived with negative connotations, this series explores the beauty and pain within tears, and celebrates crying as the powerful mechanism for the emotional release it is.
The Lady Egg was hatched just outside of Philadelphia, PA. After moving to the city, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Sculpture from Tyler School of Art. She now lives in Phoenix, AZ, where she practices art full time. The Lady Egg has participated in artist residencies, mural festivals and exhibited solo shows across the country.
Artist Statement: The Lady Egg was raised on Windows 95 and Legos. She documents humanity’s complex relationship with technology through sculptures, paintings and murals. Her work questions the implications of surveillance, data mining and misinformation while celebrating queerness, female energy and human connection. The Lady Egg explores the realm of nostalgia by revisiting familiar objects from absurd perspectives. Her paintings often illustrate a glitch, or sudden malfunction or irregularity. All of her work maintains a comical edge to remind the audience of one thing in particular, “don’t take yourself too seriously.”
Breanna Kohlmeyer is a ceramic artist who was born and raised in Washington, Kansas. She started her college career at Kansas State University as a drawing major and later transferred to Arizona State University. Looking to become a more versatile artist, she shifted her focus to ceramics and graduated with a BFA in 2020. During her time at ASU, she has participated in gallery exhibitions, received various scholarships, and awards, including a Windgate Foundation Scholarship, an Arizona Artist Guild Scholarship, and received a Juror’s Choice award from the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Currently, she is continuing her education within the ceramics department at ASU as a post-baccalaureate student and is working at Lafayette Avenue Ceramics as a production manager.
Artist Statement: We tend to obscure our true selves and the circumstances we are going through by masking our emotions. The manifestation of emotional disturbances such as stress, depression, or anxiety resides in most people and can overtake our thoughts. I reflect upon and investigate the concealment of these internal struggles in relation to how we present ourselves outwardly through my forms and surface design.In developing my artwork, I have gathered inspiration from tumors and the intestinal-like structures of the human body to discuss inner turmoil. This form is the basis for my illustrations, in which the physical act of stitching is a means to connect with the repairing of oneself and recurring psychological wounds. Each section illustrates a narrative referencing my own trauma and the imbalance that it constructs. By building and illustrating these objects, I can work through my own conflicts while also creating a space to which others can relate.
Remi Koebel is a 22 year old non-binary artist and photographer from Gilbert, Arizona. They are pursuing two Bachelor’s degrees in Photography and Liberal Studies at Arizona State University. They specialize in digital photography and photo manipulation and have a passion for costume design. Their work explores the boundaries of social norms, our relationships with one another, and the characters we play in our daily lives through a queer lens. By warping and exaggerating these roles into something grotesque, absurd, and comedic, they explore the perception of self in the grander cultural scheme.
Artist Statement: In the photo series Everybody Else’s Girl, I adopt satirized gender roles of western society in a series of costumed self portraits. By warping and exaggerating these roles into something grotesque, absurd, and comedic, I once again defy the imposed norms and standards, forcing us to question the boundaries of these tropes; how far can we bend our adherence to gender expectations before we are once again breaking them?
I use the metaphor of the clown to represent our desperation to be accepted, cheered on, and spectated by the masses; to be a jester, mime, or clown, is to desire the voyeurism of putting yourself on display for others sake. By exploring these tropes through invented characters, I ask the viewer to pay witness to the greatest show of all; ourselves.
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