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Perceive Me / Kristine Schomaker / Mesa College Art Gallery, San Diego, CA

Kristine Schomaker's Perceive Me Project

Mesa College Art Gallery, San Diego, CA

March 13 - April 13, 2023

As part of Women’s History Month 2023, the San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery presented the final major exhibition of the touring show Perceive Me, featuring a series of portraits created by artists in collaboration with plus-size artist Kristine Schomaker. This project was envisioned as a form of protest and to challenge the notions of female body size and ideals as construed by society and the art world. This project started in Los Angeles, where the Hollywood industry has historically placed unrealistic expectations and has influenced constraints on the female body ata global scale. Schomaker invited 60 artists to portray her larger-than-average form in the nude, in some cases following the art tradition of figure drawing and portraiture; in others, breaking that mold. Shifting away from the hurtful trappings of body-shaming, the artists honor and celebrate Schomaker’s voluptuous figure in a variety of paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, video and a 3D print.

"Posing and modeling for these 60 artists, I felt like a supermodel. I felt thin, bold, beautiful, classy, elegant, sexy," Schomaker said. "The artwork that was created is amazing. Then I looked in the mirror... I was the same. But I knew I was saying something that needed to be said."

As stated by Schomaker, "Perceive Me is not just an exhibition or a catalog or Instagram posts. It’s a platform for empowerment, for owning who we are, for being unique and authentic, for taking back our bodies in the #metoo movement, for being true, powerful and strong no matter what body shape, size, color, gender we are. Perceive Me is for everyone."

Schomaker's art and actions have both explored and rejected society’s idealized perceptions of the female body, a personal concern since her youth. Growing up, she objected to photographs of her body or face, which she thought of as less-than-ideal. Although she struggled with an eating disorder, she never lost sight of the need to express herself in her art. With Perceive Me, the artist, curator, and instigator found a way to celebrate herself and to teach body acceptance to the larger world. This exhibition will resonate with a younger generation that embraces and honors all body types and will align with a recent shift in society.

Mesa Gallery Director: Alessandra Moctezuma

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS Amanda Mears, Anna Kostanian, Ashley Bravin, Austin Young, Baha Danesh, Betzi Stein, Bibi Davidson, Bradford J Salamon, Caron G Rand, Carson Grubaugh, Chris Blevins-Morrison, Christina Ramos, Daena Title, Daggi Wallace, Dani Dodge, Debbie Korbel, Debe Arlook, Diane Cockerill, Donna Bates, Ellen Friedlander, Emily Wiseman, Geneva Costa, Holly Boruck, J Michael Walker, Jane Szabo, Janet Milhomme, Jeffrey Sklan, Jesse Standlea, John Waiblinger, Jorin Bossen, K Ryan Henisey, Karen Hochman Brown, Kate Hoffman, Kate Kelton, Kate Savage, Katherine Rohrbacher, Kerri Sabine-Wolf, Kim Kimbro, L Aviva Diamond, Leslie Lanxinger, Mara Zaslove, Marjorie Salvaterra, Martin Cox, Monica Sandoval, Nancy Kay Turner, Nurit Avesar, Rakeem Cunningham, Serena Potter, Sheli Silverio, Susan Amorde, Susan T. Kurland, Sydney Walters, Tanya Ragir, Tony Pinto.

ABOUT KRISTINE SCHOMAKER Kristine Schomaker is a Los Angeles based multidisciplinary artist, art historian and curator. She received her BA in Art History and an MA in Studio Art from California State University Northridge. Schomaker has been exhibiting her work since the late 1990s. She has had solo exhibitions throughout Los Angeles including Plus at Ark Gallery in Altadena; Mirror, Mirror! at Gallery H Phantom Galleries LA, Hawthorne, California; And One Man in His Time Plays Many Parts at the Los Angeles Art Association; Plusat Moorpark College Art Gallery; A Comfortable Skinat Kerckhoff Hall Art Gallery UCLA, Los Angeles, California and Ce n'est pas une Peinture at TRACTIONARTS, Los Angeles, California. Schomaker has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions.In addition to working as a practicing artist, Schomaker is an independent curator, the founder of Shoebox Arts and publisher of the online contemporary art magazine Art and Cake.


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