You are hit first by the contrast. The clinical white of the gallery walls behind the black leather and paint draw in and repelequal and opposite forces. Within the freeing constraints of the gallery space, we are invited to explore an artistic vision of other types of freeing constraint: physical and psychological kinds, based off leather and trust and, most importantly, balance in pain and pleasure.
In the early 1980s, postcolonial theorist Homi Bhabha coined the term fixity to describe the motifs and symbols visual discourse has used to craft harmful stereotypes and establish the difference of minoritized communities. Usually involving references to supposed violence or sexual deviance by highlighting the physical body and its flesh, this covert language of images perpetuates prejudice against the Other. It is this visual lexicon that the Oakland-based artist Xandra Ibarra explores, parodies, and reclaims in her exhibition Forever Sidepiece, showing at Queenss Knockdown Center through October 27.