NEW YORK, NY.-
On September 6, RYAN LEE
will open Indigenous Woman, a solo exhibition by Martine Gutierrez. The exhibition is the culmination of a two-year project by Gutierrez to create a 146-page magazine of the same name, designed and fully executed by herself from cover to cover, including ads and a Letter From the Editor. Indigenous Woman is dedicated, as Gutierrez describes it, to the celebration of Mayan Indian heritage, the navigation of contemporary indigeneity, and the ever-evolving self-image.
As a transwoman, a Latinx woman, and someone of indigenous descent, Gutierrez has long been interested in producing work that explores the complexity, fluidity, and nuances of personal identity. The magazine features spreads that invoke conventional cultural references and then turn them on their head to explore the way sexism, racism, and other biases are embedded in even the most frivolous aspects of our culture from Cover Girl ads to photo shoots that appropriate fabrics and traditional costumes from native cultures to create oftentimes absurd scenarios that erase the history of the people to whom the tradition belongs.
Through the style and construct of the glossy magazine, Gutierrez asserts control over her own identity. For each page of the magazine Gutierrez composed the staging, lighting, makeup, costuming, modeling, and photography, taking ownership over each stage of the process. As Gutierrez writes, Indigenous Woman marries the traditional to the contemporary, the native to post-colonial, and the marginalized to the mainstream in the pursuit of genuine selfhood, revealing cultural inequities along the way. This is a quest for identity. Of my own specifically, yes, but by digging my pretty, painted nails deeply into the dirt of my own image I am also probing the depths for some understanding of identity as a social construction.
The exhibition at RYAN LEE will feature large-scale, framed photographs from the magazines spreads and advertisements, mimicking the mockup in a magazines editorial room, and there will be a reading room with kiosks and copies of the magazines for visitors to read at the gallery. Copies of the limited edition magazine will be available for sale, as part of Gutierrezs efforts to make art more accessible to her community.