“Girl Crush” art exhibit explores vulnerability of human body

August 29, 2016

Jasmine Nelson

[email protected]

     Art is a medium that allows the audience to view the human body with tones of beauty or repulsion.

     “Girl Crush,” a display that explores associations of human bodies, will run Aug. 5-Sept. 24 at GOCA 121, located in downtown Colorado Springs on 121 S Tejon St.

     Denver-based artists Laura Shill and Amber Cobb are showcasing their work as well as their collaborative efforts. Their art shows the uncomfortable reality of mortality and the seductive aspects of female bodies.

     “The idea of these two working together was interesting. You see collaboration a lot in music but not so much in visual art,” said Daisy McGowan, director of GOCA.

     Along with the simultaneous attractive and repulsive art, the artists inspired each other to create this exhibit.

     The title “Girl Crush” expresses the admiration each artist has for the other’s work.

     “I’d been working with (Shill) for some time now; we’ve been collaborating for a little bit and we wanted to do a show that talked about how we were kind of crushing on each other as artists,” Cobb explained.

    Cobb also said that the art field is very male dominant.

     “There aren’t a lot of female artists, so when female artists get attention or there’s a chance to be in a show, it can be a little bit competitive, but we’ve noticed that a lot of female artists are really supportive,” said Cobb.

     McGowan said that the inspiration for “Girl Crush” came from “their ideas specifically as female artists trying to get to a point where they’re not referred to as ‘female artists.”

     “Girl Crush” provides all visitors the chance to think about controversial subjects and discuss them whether they agree or not.

     “It’s still wonderful to have a discussion about it; that’s what art can do that other areas of our modern world don’t have as much of a hand in doing,” said McGowan.

     Visitors are encouraged to interact with the exhibit, which features photographs and everyday materials like rugs, fabric and pieces of a mattress. They are treated with various materials that the artists hope will provoke viewers to feel the art.

     “People can touch the art but only with the artists’ consent. People’s eyes are hungry for a tactile experience,” said Nicole Anthony, community cultivation director of GOCA.

     One room of the exhibit, where guests are required to remove their shoes before entering, is filled with bubblegum-and flesh-pink fabrics, materials and shapes.

     “Pink is typically thought of as a girl-color, but on the inside everyone is pink. The art focuses on abstract beauty that’s also disgusting and forces the audience to confront their mortality,” said Anthony.

     The exhibit shows how art is a way to communicate with an audience about difficult subjects.

     “Art is a safe place for uncomfortable but important topics: rape, identity, sexuality, consent, mortality. Art

is a way to engage with heavy topics and be playful too,” said Anthony.

     Anthony and McGowan encouraged students to visit GOCA.

     “Art creates a shared experience and helps build a sense of community even when coming from different backgrounds,” added Anthony.

     The next exhibit at GOCA 121 is the “UCCS Visual Art Faculty Exhibit,” which opens with a reception on Oct. 7.

The Lowdown (Daryl, please make a box for The Lowdown)

What: “Girl Crush”

Where: 121 S Tejon St.

When: Aug. 5-Sept. 24, Wednesday-Saturday 12-5 p.m.

How Much: Free