Saya Woolfalk‘s Hallucinatory Chimeras: The Empathics

Multi-faceted artist Saya Woolfalk is burning hallucinatory fires up and down both coasts the beginning of 2013, with dual shows in NYC and Portland. Three-dimensional or two-dimensional, still structure or moving image, Woolfalk navigates it all like a Play-Doh wizard gone haywire or a visionary artist on acid.

Her latest solo show, Chimera, is a full-bodied, multi-disciplinary exploration of Woolfalk’s fictional species of Empathics, who are genetic chimeras comprised of two or more genetically-distinct tissues. The series is sci-fi-inspired, with an underlying commentary about the transformation of identities through biological hybridization. Though these issues may seem foreign and otherwordly — especially when tackled in the visually-striking way that Woolfalk has — they may indeed have increasing relevance in our world in the face of scientific progress.

Stay tuned for Woolfalk’s in-depth interview with REDEFINE this upcoming month, and view the full post for more information on Woolfalk’s shows and the Empathics.

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Chimera is now on display at Third Streaming in NYC’s Soho neighborhood (10 Greene street, Second floor), where all of the works below can be seen alongside multimedia works, installations, and paintings. Come March 2012, Disjecta in Portland (8371 N Interstate Avenue) will be hosting a similar show of Woolfalk’s work. The show at Third Streaming runs through April 25th, 2013.

As described by the Montclair Art Museum about Woolfalk’s work:

“Blending fantasy, humor, and play, Woolfalk’s art draws on anthropology, mythology, and fashion to present a fantastical world that encourages us to consider our most pressing societal issues, particularly concerning cultural difference, in a new light. The titular Empathics are a fictional group of women who, the artist imagines, blend racial and ethnic identities as they metamorphose, taking on characteristics of both humans and plants. In the exhibition, the Empathics’ story unfolds in the form of a fictitious ethnographic display—yet with kaleidoscopic colors, patterns, and textures unique to Woolfalk’s extraordinary vision. Woolfalk’s colorful installation includes human-scale, fabric-based sculptures, some of which double as costumes in her innovative performances; intricate paintings; thought-provoking videos; and interactive web technologies.”

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