Grant Marshall Student Summer Residency 2019 recipient: Mahri White


Martha Street Studio writes:

Martha Street Studio is pleased to announce Mahri White as the recipient of the 2019 Grant Marshall Student Summer Residency.

Mahri’s practice focuses on topics of queer sexuality and shame through various print media, textile sculptures, and costumes. Mahri will be printing in the studio through July and August, focusing on lithography and screen printing, and will showcase some of her work in the gallery in August. Stay tuned for details.

Artist Statement:

Through developmental pubescent years, shame seeps into consciousness while we navigate purity and sexuality simultaneously. For many queer teenagers like myself through much of this millennium’s first decade, this navigation can be terrifying. My artwork blends Freudian sex symbols, adolescent playthings, and hiding places as a response to my devastating self-discovery of 2006; that godforsaken moment I realized I was gay.

Sigmund Freud enters my work satirically and often. I examine ludicrous theories comparing female genitalia to mollusks, and utilize this symbolism via sculpture and printmaking. I re-write Freud by applying my queerness to interpretations of body sockets or shells I wish to invade as a second party or retract into. The hiding place is a way for me to confront shame, and I conceptualize this with the materiality of textiles. Though textiles rarely imitate mucous covered membranes, they allow for other aspects of texture that can evoke sensuous notions. My works often resemble dolls and other stereotypically feminine toys as a way of simulating control over powerless entities while playing into ideas about traditional femininity, and further, how femininity can be perverse through the options that play provides.

My practice does not mention anything that fourth wave feminism has not already, but I aim for it to question my personal role within queer spaces. I examine the ways in which lesbianism is exhibited through patterns we often denounce when performed via stereotypical masculinity, and I antagonize myself in my work as a perpetrator of these actions through the privilege I hold.

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