Image by L. Aviva Diamond
PLUS-SIZE ARTIST KRISTINE SCHOMAKER CHALLENGES SOCIETAL NORMS OF BEAUTY AND ‘FAT PHOBIA’ BY PRESENTING HER BODY THROUGH THE EYES OF 60 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ARTISTS
“Perceive Me” by Kristine Schomaker
Ronald H Silverman Fine Arts Gallery, Cal State University LA
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles CA 90032
Dr. Mika Cho, Director, Fine Arts Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday January 25, 5-8pm
Artist Talk with Alexandra Grant Sun February 2, 2-4pm
Artist Talk with Leslie Labowitz-Starus Sun February 16, 2-4pm
Artist Panel and Closing Reception Sat February 22, 2-4pm
In “Perceive Me,” plus-size artist Kristine Schomaker challenges society, the art world and herself to become more accepting of our differences, especially differences in size. She issued the challenge here in Los Angeles - a city known for its unrealistic images of the female body - by asking 60 artists to do nude portraits of her larger-than-average form. Rather than shaming Schomaker for her size, the artists celebrate it with paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, video and a 3D print.
Los Angeles artist Sheli Silverio responded with a 57-inch-tall watercolor painting. “Kristine invited me to be part of her "Perceive Me" project in which I got to use my lens to interpret her; Her body, her authenticity, her power, her femininity, her bravery, HER. In the process of doing so, I took the opportunity to explore myself. It's been good for my heart. I think part of understanding ourselves, happens in relation to the world around us. But we also know that the social standards are in need of critique more often than not. The way "Perceive Me" reflects and shifts the idea of perception of self allows for this criticism. It opens space for everyone involved, artists and viewers, to reflect upon how they see themselves, how they look at others and what weight and significance we place on all of that.”
Schomaker’s work has often touched upon perceptions of the female body, an issue that has been a challenge for her since her youth. She hated having her photo taken because she didn’t want her body and face, which she saw as less-than-ideal, being memorialized in photos. She developed an eating disorder, but she never lost sight of the need to express herself in her art.
And with “Perceive Me,” the artist, curator, and instigator found a way to celebrate herself in addition to educating the larger world about acceptance.
“Posing and modeling for these 60 artists, I felt like a supermodel. I felt thin, bold, beautiful, classy, elegant, sexy,” she said. “The artwork that was created is amazing. Then I looked in the mirror… I was the same. But I knew I was saying something that needed to be said.”
"Perceive Me" opens with an exhibition at California State University, Los Angeles Jan. 25, 2020. The opening reception is Jan. 25, 2020 6-9pm. The show runs through Feb. 22, 2020.
Over the next couple of years, “Perceive Me” will travel to Coastline Community College Art Gallery, McNish Gallery at Oxnard College, Mesa Community College Art Gallery, College of the Sequoias in Visalia and the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster.
“‘Perceive Me’ is not just an exhibition or a catalog or Instagram posts. It is a platform for empowerment, for owning who we are, for being unique and authentic, for taking back our bodies in the #metoo movement, for being true, powerful and strong no matter what body shape, size, color, gender we are. ‘Perceive Me’ is for everyone,” Schomaker said.
Artists who collaborated in the project include Amanda Mears, Anna Kostanian, Anna Stump, Ashley Bravin, Austin Young, Baha Danesh, Betzi Stein, Bibi Davidson, Bradford J Salamon, Caron G Rand, Carson Grubaugh, Catherine Ruane, Chris Blevins-Morrison, Christina Ramos, Cynda Valle, Daena Title, Daggi Wallace, Dani Dodge, Debbie Korbel, Debby and Larry Kline, Debe Arlook, Diane Cockerill, Donna Bates, Elizabeth Tobias, Ellen Friedlander, Emily Wiseman, Geneva Costa, Holly Boruck, J Michael Walker, Jane Szabo, Janet Milhomme, Jeffrey Sklan, Jesse Standlea, John Waiblinger, Jorin Bossen, K Ryan Henisey, Karen Hochman Brown, Kate Hoffman, Kate Kelton, Kate Savage, Katherine Rohrbacher, Kerri Sabine-Wolf, Kim Kimbro, L Aviva Diamond, Leslie Lanxinger, Mara Zaslove, Marjorie Salvaterra, Martin Cox, Monica Sandoval, Nancy Kay Turner, Nurit Avesar, Phung Huynh, Rakeem Cunningham, Serena Potter, Sheli Silverio, Susan Amorde, Susan T. Kurland, Sydney Walters, Tanya Ragir, Tony Pinto, Vicki Walsh
About Kristine Schomaker:
Kristine Schomaker is a Los Angeles based multidisciplinary artist, art historian and curator. She received her BA in Art History and an MA in Studio Art from California State University Northridge. Schomaker has been exhibiting her work since the late 1990s. She has had solo exhibitions throughout Los Angeles including “Plus” at Ark Gallery in Altadena, “Mirror, Mirror!” at Gallery H Phantom Galleries LA, Hawthorne, California, “And One Man in His Time Plays Many Parts” at the Los Angeles Art Association, “Plus” at Moorpark College Art Gallery, “A Comfortable Skin,” at Kerckhoff Hall Art Gallery UCLA, Los Angeles, California and “Ce n’est pas une Peinture,” at TRACTIONARTS, Los Angeles, California. Schomaker has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions.
In addition to working as a practicing artist, Schomaker is an independent curator, the founder of Shoebox PR and publisher of the online contemporary art magazine Art and Cake.