Event Spotlight: “Katie Commodore: Between Friends and Lovers” solo exhibition at the Untitled Space
Any sex therapist, sex worker, or sex enthusiast will tell you the same thing: Great sex is about trust. And communication is a big part of that. Intimacy involves physical as well as emotional closeness; but, it also involves openness, as the ability to let someone access the details of our desires directly correlates with the pleasure of the overall experience. Considering the preferences of the individuals involved, coupled with the number of partners any one of those individuals may have in a lifetime, people’s sexual experiences are astoundingly diverse, which is why sex is a subject of enduring exploration for scientists, philosophers, and artists.
Katie Commodore is one of them. The interdisciplinary artist concentrates on creating intimate portraits of her friends. Her latest solo exhibition Katie Commodore: Between Friends and Lovers, curated by Indira Cesarine, is available for viewing at the Untitled Space from November 21st through December 12th. It features “a series of large scale erotically charged figurative tapestries, created with detailed adornments and unique embroideries, along with a number of her signature portraits in gouache, miniature watercolor paintings on ivory, as well as works on paper including intaglio etchings, metallic foil cutouts, and photogravure prints.”
The works are a byproduct of trust. The images depict the artist’s friends engaging in intimate activities, either with someone else or by themselves. “Everyone is my friend and they are allowing me to be a witness to their love, which in turn is then celebrated by everyone that sees it,” explains Commodore. “Any activity that helps someone express their sexuality is beautiful, to be supported, and worthy of being immortalized in art.” As such, the images are raw, uninhibited, and extremely personal. But, they are also quite stunning, and no, not because of the subject manner; I am referring to their exquisite visual context.
Given Commodore’s background — she received her BFA in illustration from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2000 and her MFA in printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design, where she is currently an adjunct professor, in 2004 — it makes sense that she references archaeology and anthropology to break down the reason her subjects are usually shown on a rich, colorful, wallpaper-inspired background: “Historians and anthropologists often use the decorative remnants of past cultures to gain valuable insight into the lives of the people that created them, the same sort of cultural portrait can be drawn from our design choices today.”
Aside from intimacy component, Commodore’s collection is the result of an intriguing creative process, which you can read about in detail in the exhibition’s press release. But, before you do so, I highly recommend taking a little bit of time to absorb the details in her images. Some recall the black and white illustrations of artists like Aubrey Beardsley, others have elements of 1960s Atomic advertisements, a few have text on textiles that remind me of neon sculptures. Commodore is mindful of this, elaborating: “Our sexuality, and how we feel about it, is in constant flux; the same way that we redecorate our homes, change the wallpaper and curtains, change the sheets.”
Indeed it does, and her work allows us to peak inside the homes and between the bedsheets of her closest friends.
Note* All images and info for the sponsored post were provided by The Untitled Space.