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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Enter this unique Utopia

    Education freshman Landry Davis views the artwork in The Vistas of Gender Utopia exhibit as part of an exercise for her English 101 class.
    Education freshman Landry Davis views the artwork in “”The Vistas of Gender Utopia”” exhibit as part of an exercise for her English 101 class.

    Venture into “”Jenny Schmid: Vistas of Gender Utopia,”” and it’s like traveling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. That is, if Alice’s adventures had been retold in an iconic, provocative medieval graphic novel.

    Printmaker Jenny Schmid’s current exhibit at the University of Arizona Museum of Art is quite a trip. Her caricature-like figures blur the lines between male and female. The scenes she depicts are devoid of distinct time and space.

    A perverse sense of darkness pervades pieces such as “”The Five Genders,”” a series in which five gender-role stereotypes, including “”Tough as Nails Ram Girl”” and “”The Puzzlingly Gorgeous Hermaphrodite”” are blended with animalistic characteristics and blown up larger-than-life in black and white.

    Much of Schmid’s style comes from the influence of medieval European iconography, as well as feminist non-fiction and contemporary comics.

    This exhibition explores the concept of a utopian society, an unattainable land steeped in perfection. Schmid explores the twisted perspective such expectations create.

    Printmakers become accustomed to working as a community. Studios become a place for networking. The traditional techniques Schmid uses permit the borrowing of images; direct photolithography allows for the use of previously captured photographs and icons in new works.

    The irony here is that, while Schmid’s prints do not pretend to be realistic renderings, the imagery and underlying themes are clearly visible in society. The gender issues and current political climate make her fantasylands and eerie characters painfully relevant.

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