Christa Carleton And Tonja Torgerson: Body Politic

May 21 2024 - August 24 2024

Bodies have always been a point of control, debate, and controversy within our society. Printmakers Christa Carleton and Tonja Torgerson make work to highlight the tumultuous position of the body and gender roles. Their collaborative prints focus on political themes associated with the figurative nude. Using letterpress, screenprint, and woodcut, these prints reference broadsides and use the impact of print-media to destabilize current ideas on gender roles and bodies. Mailing these prints back and forth from Indiana to Montana, the artists have responded to one another and these topics layer by layer, building a dialogue across the country and within each print. Stark, nude figures are combined with bold, aggressive text that challenge the expectations which are put upon them.

Artists’ Statement: Our figurative nudes push against and question the boundaries that restrain them. Bold visual narratives challenge notions of how they are supposed to look and feel. These figures deal with the vulnerability of their bodies while walking a thin line between expression and discretion. They navigate the internal and external factors that compose one’s identity. This exhibition explores the turmoil experienced by many as they navigate their bodies through our current society, pointing out hard realities in order to positively influence our culture. We source our subject matter from lived experiences that are personal and authentic, as we are confronted with the consequences of our bodies daily. Our prints resist outdated mindsets about performing femininity and question widespread notions about the role and standing of female-expressing people. This exhibition pushes against western dominant society that pits us against each other and opposes the pernicious mentality that the primary function of our bodies is to please others. With our collaborative project Body Politic, we contribute our perspectives to a vast commentary set forth by our predecessors in intersectional feminism, and raise our voices in support of inclusive change.