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[NSFW] Feminist Self-Portraits Showcase the Mystical and Sensual Self

A series of performative self-portraits animate artist Ange’s new exhibition ‘Equilibrium: An Allegory of Rebirth.'

DJ Pangburn

DJ Pangburn

January. All images courtesy of the artist and Milk and Night Curatorial.

As Cindy Sherman's performative, chameleon-like photographs constantly reaffirm, the self-portrait has always been ripe for reinvention, and perhaps even more so now that selfies are culturally ubiquitous. In the new exhibition, Equilibrium: An Allegory of Rebirth, opening today at The Lodge Gallery in New York City, artist Ange presents a series of self-portraits that are surreal, feminist, psychedelic, and masochistic, creating a visual exploration of the female "emotional calendar cycle" that runs parallel to nature's four seasons. Ange sees nature's endless metamorphoses and rebirths as being synchronized with female biology and psychology.

"Being a woman, a fire sign, and always a moon, emotionally intelligent and intuitive, I can't help but follow my instincts' impulse to create and express my feelings and visions inside and out," says Ange. "It's a natural evolution that is innate—any creation is recreation of inner vision, mirrors our soul's and heart's landscape and essence."

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"It's in my writing or anything I touch and put into shape," she adds. "As sculpture or visual storytelling, it always reflects the poetry of love and beauty that is all around, as the origin is inside of us all, born within, the origin of all."

Equilibrium marks Ange's first time working with Milk and Night Curatorial. Founded by Coco Dolle, Milk and Night is an independent practice that fosters a "female structure to female structure" between artist and curator as a means of thriving within the mainstream art world's patriarchal conventions.

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"To be emotionally honest and reflective is inherent to being a woman and feminist: it's part of our compassion, integrity, and soul urge," Ange says of working with Milk and Night Curatorial on Equilibrium. "It's a natural symbiosis and evolution of women supporting and uplifting each other, in my opinion and reality."

As for the art in Equilibrium itself, Ange emphasizes that what she does are self-portraits, not selfies—the two should not be confused. Ange borrows what she calls her "physical shell" as a canvas and a tool to create serious visual food for thought.

"It's meant to connect deep to our human core," says Ange, who seeks to share her experiences, insights, and observations on human nature and the human condition. "[It's] full of drama and comedy, and empathy for our too human creature that's too inspiring on a secular and spiritual level."

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What viewers see in Ange's work is an intriguing and visually striking blend of the surreal, absurd, erotic, feminine, and painful experiences. She says that these motifs began trickling into her work quite naturally because they are all facets inherent to humans.

For Ange, the human species is a prism of being, in her words, a "rainbow of characters and multiple personalities." Her artistic explorations allow her to inhabit "perfect playground" full of inspiration, using her chameleonic and thespian-like qualities. It is, to reappropriate the cliche, art imitating Ange's life.

While Ange's previous body of work focused mainly on a spectrum of human archetypes, Equilibrium dives deep into the dimensions of the human psyche, including the unconscious and subconscious minds.

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"[This is a] visual exploration of emotions as I experience them," Ange notes. "It's a very personal and intimate excavation, like spiritual archeology of my bare soul."

Ideally, when a viewer encounters the works in Equilibrium, Ange hopes they connect to humanity's mythical and sensual self layered deep within the mind and body, allowing them to excavating some of their own self in the process.

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Equilibrium: An Allegory of Rebirth opens May 5th at The Lodge Gallery as part of Frieze Week in New York City. Click here to learn more.

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