Transiting Desire

On View
June 26th – September 11th, 2015
Opening Reception
June 26th, 2015

TRANSITING DESIRE at She Works Flexible, examines these concerns as they are explored in the work of Leah DeVun and Ashley Maclean. Using photography and video DeVun and Maclean represent the practices of self-representation/restoration /incarnation and the creation of both an autonomous body and space.

DeVun exhibited selections from her large-scale photographic series entitled, Our Hands on Each Other. This work draws its title from a quotation in Lesbian Land, a collection of writings by lesbians who founded or lived in women's intentional communities, sometimes called "womyn's lands," in the 1970s and 1980s. The project was originally installed at Women & Their Work Gallery in Austin, Texas where she took the history of the gallery as a jumping off point to ask viewers to consider the nature of queer and feminist space in the past and present. A feminist collective founded the gallery in the 1970s, including lesbian artists, who wanted to create a space for women and people of color who had been excluded from mainstream white- and male-dominated arts venues. Spaces and publications dedicated to feminist activism and artwork were all the rage in the 1970s, fewer survive now. This project asks: what did a feminist collective space look like three or four decades ago? What does one look like now? Questions She Works Flexible is engaged with on a daily basis. 

Leah DeVun is an artist and historian living in Brooklyn, New York. Her photographs and installations explore the legacies of feminism, with a special interest in queer and gendered communities, music and fandom, history, memory, and identity. Committed to analog/wet-process photography while it lasts, she strives to produce art that is participatory, interdisciplinary, and socially active. Her work has been featured in Artforum,Capricious, LA Weekly, Art Papers, Hyperallergic,, Gallerist, New York Magazine, and No More Potlucks, among other publications, and at venues such as DODGE Gallery, Johannes Vogt Gallery, Martina Johnston Gallery, MASS Gallery, the ONE Archives Gallery and Museum at the University of Southern California, Otis College of Art and Design, Centraltrak at the University of Texas Dallas, The Front (New Orleans), Sage Art Center at the University of Rochester, the Houston Center for Photography, the Contemporary Austin, Leslie-Lohman Museum, Blanton Museum of Art, the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, and MoMA PS1 Contemporary Arts Center. She is an associate professor of women’s and gender history at Rutgers University. 



Maclean’s work interrogates culturally pervasive ideas about fixed states of being, reading this as a rejection of complexity and resistance to change his practice carves out a restorative space for the body and desire. Critical of the quieting of dissenting voices as ‘alternative’ his work explores the beautiful aesthetically seductive, “sexy” image, arguing against simplistic objectification arguments. In TRANSITING DESIRE Maclean exhibited a series of photographs and video installations. The deft use of his medium allows us to luxuriate in the aesthetic moment of his image making. The bodies Maclean shows us are signifiers of his active resistance to a drive towards the middle. He and they are doing the work of space making, in so much that they cultivate a radical practice of representation. One that at its core assumes that we are all objects to one another, all of us.

Ashley Maclean is a self-taught artist with a career as a photographer spanning over 15 years. He now works in a variety of mediums, including but not limited to dance, music, video and paint. He has shown in NY, Berlin, LA, Houston, Austin, and has been published by Nerve Magazine daily from 2006-2010 as part of a four-year comprehensive collaboration with Traci Matlock. He has also been published in American Photo, New York Times, NY Arts, La Pura Vida, Ele Ela, Men’s Fitness, Polliwog, Box. Maclean was the shared subject (w/ Traci Matlock) of Amadelio Films’ artist profile and documentary people-love-photos also featuring Elinor Carucci and Tanyth Berkeley.