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New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art, University of Southern Indiana is proud to present Weee, curated by Chase Westfall and featuring works by artists Rachel Stallings Thomander, Steven Stallings Cárdenas and Kiki LaPomme. Weee will be on view from September 30 through November 4. An artist lecture will take place October 13th from 3:30 – 4:30 pm CT on the University of Southern Indiana Campus, in Kleymyer Hall on the Lower Level of the Liberal Arts building. A public reception will be held in conjunction with New Harmony Second Saturdays on Saturday, October 14th from 4 – 6 pm CT. New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art’s open hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm CT.

In Weee, artists Rachel Stallings Thomander, Steven Stallings Cárdenas and Kiki LaPomme
explore and experiment with collective identity – its ideals, forms, rewards, limits and complications. What does it mean to be and make in community? The three siblings (two by birth, one by marriage) offer varied and personal perspectives on this often vexing question. The angles of these perspectives vary dramatically, reflecting the real, physical distances that separate the siblings—split between the East and West coasts—and the elasticity of the family relationships which hold them in a warm but wobbly orbit.

The works are not collaborative, but developed in conversation. And much is shared among them by way of sensibility and strategy: color, curiosity, humor and play are family values, expressed equally in the material characteristics of the works and the welcoming invitation they extend to visitors. The works are further united by their surprising formal sophistication and the earnest critical inquiries to which they attest. What happens when aspirational collectivity comes into contact with obstinate reality? Weee remains optimistic and offers positive actions, symbols and models for human interconnectedness.

“We propose that the word “we”, and our exhibition Weee, serve as linguistic and cultural constructs that reflect and shape our always-changing collective identity. Drawing inspiration from Édouard Glissant’s philosophical writings about creolization, Deleuze and Guatarri’s concept of the rhizome, as well as Lacanian Theory, Weee expands on ideas of hybridity, where individuality is not erased but transformed by collective experiences and context. The subject-oriented concept “we” embodies the fluidity of identity, as a signifier whose ever-changing signified transmits and reflects, like a mirror, a linguistic representation of ourselves AND the Other — and we invite viewers to contemplate the conceptual interplay between language, consciousness, identity, and the formation of the self. Much like the rhizome’s resistance to hierarchical structures, Weee seeks to embrace a network of interconnectedness, a web of relationships that transcend traditional and normative boundaries and rules. This work, with the help of this statement, aims to position the viewer as part of our collective, meaning-making process. We hope you use our works as metaphysical thread, in sewing together the separation of the us and them and you. By embedding our linguistic and image-based works with the concept “we”—with its relational connections using symbols, shared memories, myths, and education—we hope to find common ground with the viewer, as we contribute to the forming of a more inclusive collective unconscious. As a subject-in-flux, Weee aims to encapsulate the essence of human togetherness, celebrating our shared narratives while honoring the diversity of individual experiences and feelings. Weee engages with a playful, yet, significant action of interconnectedness that we as the artists find prudent as “we” reflects, refracts, and holds space in time for multiplicities of identities and for our collective humanity, giving testament to the beauty of our species’ intertwined stories, realities, and subjectivity.”

~Rachel Stallings Thomander, Steven Stallings Cárdenas, & Kiki LaPomme

Rachel Stallings Thomander is a Colombian American artist, educator and curator based in Santa, Cruz California, where she lives with her husband and son. Her work addresses latinx identity, early childhood education and exchanges between craft, design and art. She holds an MFA in Art Practice from UC Berkeley. She has exhibited work at Tropical Contemporary, CTRL+SHFT, Nous Tous Gallery, Guerrero Gallery, Richmond Art Center, and Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Steven Stallings Cárdenas is a Colombian American artist, filmmaker, and musician from Provo, Utah. He graduated with a BFA in Studio Art from Brigham Young University with an emphasis in New Genres, and is currently persuing an MFA from Columbia University.

Kiki LaPomme is a multimedia artist living in Southern California.She has most recently done illustration work for herbal and wellness company Solarray. as well as forming material for the childrens education and gardening project, “Something”. When not drawing in the studio, she is either makeing with the Scary Sugar artist’s collective, or makeing music ­- often with experimental pop band Pigimichi.

New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art at University of Southern Indiana promotes discourse about and access to contemporary art in the southern Indiana region. New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art is a proud outreach partner of the University of Southern Indiana.

Photo Credit: Rachel Stallings Thomander, Apple Tomato Machine, 2023,
acrylic on wood, 12 x 13 in.

This exhibition is made possible in part by Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, and the Indiana Arts Commission, which receives support from the State of Indiana and the National Endowment for the Arts.