Alicia Ross: Sacred_Profane

Image: Alicia Ross, Motherboard_5 (The Siren) detail, cross-stitch on cotton, 2008 / ©Alicia Ross

Image: Alicia Ross, Motherboard_5 (The Siren) detail, cross-stitch on cotton, 2008 / ©Alicia Ross

Press Release / September 4 - October 4, 2008

Black & White Gallery is delighted to present SACRED_PROFANE - a solo exhibition by Alicia Ross.

Referencing the title of Titian's 16th century painting Sacred and Profane Love, Ross investigates the wide range of media to provide a contemporary reinterpretation of proper and obscene, respectable and shameful. The work, in this contemporary context, mingles teasing innocence with erotic voracity, challenges the irony of representation of the female form with standard moral differences between sanctified love and fantastical desire.

The series of Samplers and Motherboards, Love Swing sculpture and Rockwell’s a Surrealist mixed media installation originate from images from the internet, religious texts and domestic objects – all loaded with pornographic innuendos – which Ross works and reworks using handicraft techniques, transforming them while retaining a sense of their original meaning and physical form. An interesting tension arises when pornography is integrated with handicraft, blurring distinctions between the sacred and the profane for it pokes fun at the very idea of leeway or discrepancy, and inevitably engages the viewer’s critical eye.

In the Ishihara Test Series videos, similarly-sourced imaging is fitted into the template for testing color deficiencies. Ross is savvy about her use of this scientific test for the work, aware that men are considerably more prone to colorblindness than women. Hence, Ishihara becomes an ideal mechanism with which to confound the male gaze. It becomes nearly impossible to possess that which you cannot see. 

SACRED_PROFANE draws our attention to the whimsical, the absurd as much as the tragic and to the morally significant.

Alicia Ross holds a Bachelor of Arts from Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, OH (2003) and a Master of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY (2007). She lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio.