Portraits of Queer Gender: The BVLA Art Lounge is an informal gallery space –where a mix of thirteen artists – photographers, painters, designers, graphic novelists – share their vision of butch, stud, genderqueer and trans images.
Ranging from formally educated artists to self-taught community activists and artivists, their work tells stories, documents and visualizes identities and reflects us back to ourselves. You’re invited to hang out in the Art Lounge, and enjoy the view!
Featuring the work of : Laura Aguilar | Ivy Bottini | Angela Brinskele | Ashley Eberlein | Vivian Escalante | Mel Johnson | Elisha Lim | leaf | Peggie Miller | Leon Mostovoy | Jill Posener | Sparrow |
Curated by Lynn H. Ballen, Sue Sexton and Carr Blase
Laura Aguilar – Photographer – Laura is a Chicana lesbian artist who works in photography and video. Her refined sense of formal composition, and subject matter have earned her an international reputation and exhibits worldwide. Most of her work involves black-and-white portraits of people whose bodies and social identities have been marginalized or ignored in mainstream art and culture. In this “Plush Pony” series (1992) Aguilar set out to document a Latina lesbian community, centered around the bar in El Sereno – creating a document of working-class Chicana lesbian and butch/femme culture, and an important historical record of lesbian identity and community.
Ivy Bottini – Painter – Ivy believes creative energy is endless and she expresses it in many ways: visually, strategically, and theatrically; through thought and interpretation. While fighting for civil rights and equality as an LGBT activist leader, Ivy has returned again and again to her first creative expression, painting.
Angela Brinskele – Photographer – It’s odd to see Angela anywhere without a camera in hand. If you’ve been to any Lesbian or LGBT events in Southern California in the past 25 years, you will probably recognize Angela – a photographer who has been passionately documenting our community. She is proud to be the Director of Communications of the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives, and a member of The City of West Hollywood Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashley Eberlein – Photographer – Ashley appreciates finding the wonder in the ordinary, and documenting what may very well be forgotten mostly because it wasn’t ever even acknowledged. She also creates shoots to present concepts that she wants to see exist outside of her brain. She always strives to create images that make you stop, see and wonder. Documentation and presentation are her passions. www.ashleyeberlein.com
Vivian Escalante – Designer – Vivian designed all promotional material for Pygmy Productions’ “Cunt Club” (developed, designed and produced by Vivian and Jeffery Reyes) One of LA’s underground lesbian clubs in the ‘90s it was a getaway from the constraints of daily lives, where you could express the real you, and no judgments were ever cast, nor stones thrown, but memories will live on forever. This piece documents a time that helped to pave the way for the underground scene of Los Angeles.
Mel Johnson / Randy Shaft – Photographer – Mel teaches fine art photography at Cal State University Fullerton where she is completing a Master of Fine Arts degree. She has performed in drag for the San Diego King’s Club for 7 of the club’s 10 years.
Elisha Lim – Graphic Novelist/Artist – Eliisha was born in Toronto and grew up in Singapore, in a Catholic convent girls’ school overrun with queers, many of whom inspire the graphic novel 100 Butches. Other sources of butch inspiration have been bosses on German construction sites, neighbors on the Spanish coast, fellow drag kings in Jerusalem and restaurant guests subject to a terrible waiter in London. Elisha was thrilled to be named “Artist in Residence” by Curve, a “Queer Woman to Watch” at afterellen.com and to run strips in magazines like Diva, LOTL, CapitalXtra! and No More Potlucks.
leaf – Photographer – “As I walk and observe the world, my eyes zoom in and out, while my mind automatically gears to align figures or objects into frame. The blink of an eye mimics the press of a shutter, which internally, has opened the lens of my heart to a wider perspective by capturing a moment of treasure. The camera is not only a device that records vision into film, but has also become my right arm, allowing me to express or manifest the beauty, the ugliness, and the grays in between. Thus, photography being connection to you and me. “
Peggie Miller – Photographer – Peggie is the curator of the book NMB: New Millennium Butch. Living her life as a butch woman she noticed how we tend to live in the shadows, usually among our own exclusively and how butch identified women have tended to take a back seat. Until now! Peggie’s New Millennium Butch fashion shows in Newark, NJ have showcased butch models, designers & entertainers for the past nine years.
Leon Mostovoy – Photographer – has been photographing on the front lines of queer activism and erotica for decades. His work has been exhibited in many national and international solo and group shows. He was the photographer for ART POSITIVE and one of the primary photographers for ACT-UP NYC. He has collaborated with Annie Sprinkle, Diviana Ingravallo, Julie Tolentino, Ron Athey, Cheryl Dunye, Angela Davis, and many others on the revolutionary front.
Jill Posener – Photographer – Jill is a photographer, author and animal welfare advocate. Her portrait and documentary photographs have been widely published, and two books of political graffiti photos together sold more than 35,000 copies. Jill co-edited ‘Nothing But The Girl’, a homage to lesbian erotic photography, with Susie Bright which won the Lambda Award and Firecracker Alternative Book Award for Best Art Book in 1996.
Sparrow – painter – Sparrow entered the world ready to create. Hailing from a vagabond and bohemian family, she builds her paintings and drawings from her strong physical and emotional connection to lesbian experience. Working primarily in acrylic and watercolor paint Sparrow delves into the elastic nature of female sexuality and the meanings behind desire and what appears at first to be uncomplicated and dwelling only on the surface. Sparrow’s education is from UCSD & her work is in various private collections across the United States.
On special display on Friday night – select pieces from “GenderPlay in Lesbian Culture” – L.A.’s first-ever Exhibit that explored gender and its boundaries and the changing nature of lesbian identity. [From cross-dressers and tobacco-chewers of the Wild West, to stone butches, high femmes, and kiki’s of the 1950s; through the Lesbian Feminist 1970s to lipstick lesbians & homocore; to queers, bois, and trans identities today. All re-mixed with vintage photos, archival docs, film clips, and historic first person accounts.] Produced by LEX & exhibited at the ONE Archives Gallery, 2009)