My artwork portrays different aspects of identity, exploring personal and cultural narratives through objects, images, places and performances. The handmade or printed images and objects I make echo the present cultural moment through my personal lens utilizing DIY electronics and digital technology. Performing allows me to play out situations and depictions of people that resonate with me personally, while contemplating how this relates to broad societal traditions of representing identity and otherness. In my recent work, I have documented intimate situations which require a mutual trust between me, my collaborators, and to a certain extent my audience, examining sexuality by looking at relationships.
Five years ago, my best friend from adolescence began transitioning from female to male. My feelings about his choice were complicated, and I wondered how it would affect our relationship. We agreed to meet at my studio once a month to catch up and take portraits to document the transformation. Our first session took place just before surgery and hormone replacement therapy. I decided that if we were going to do nude portraits, I would also expose myself. I felt that somehow this gesture could soften the voyeuristic quality of the images, imbuing them with the narrative of two similar people comparing themselves as one changes and the other stays the same. We repeated the same poses in front of a white wall for each of six months until my friend moved away, reuniting once for another session four years later.
The images of us standing side by side once a month from January through July 2010 comprise ¾ of the booklet As You Change 2010 + 2104, published by Small Editions in Brooklyn. Also included is a recent photo of the two of us standing back to back, taken in August 2014. Ten pages of these double portraits are bookended by head shots of my friend in 2010 and 2014. The booklet is accompanied by a wallet sized photo of the two of us sitting back to back in our marching band uniforms in 2000. The captionless images display a sense of ambiguity about the passage of time in between which subtle changes gradually occur.
In March 2015, I was invited to do a solo project at an experimental artist run gallery in Philadelphia. While preparing for the exhibition, I experienced a set of close personal losses, entering a period of grief. My longing for an unattainable intimate connection was what led me to the internet, and ultimately became the subject of my work. I set up a profile on a popular online dating site, soliciting partners in the Philadelphia area. My only photo was a portrait of myself in a skin tight gold leotard and sunglasses, lounging amongst mannequins in a storefront window. The profile read:
I’m looking for an intelligent, kind, imaginative partner to craft an encounter with me. We can email, talk, and dream up the scenario for our first meeting. Then, if we both feel comfortable, we can meet at a public gathering to act out our play. I am a creative person, and I would like your permission to share our interaction- including our writing to one another- with an audience. You may remain as anonymous as you wish.
Simone192879 received over 3,950 “Likes” and over 300 messages in four weeks. I filtered responses by disclosing my intention to play out our first meeting at a public art gallery opening, and to display text and images from our online-only interactions as artwork. I began developing relationships with three men and one self-described dyke, ranging from three to 17 years my senior. Nurturing trust and building excitement for weeks leading up to the dates created challenging circumstances for maintaining boundaries. Our chat conversations detailed the demise of past relationships, lamented the trials of dating, and became sexually explicit to varying degrees. Over four hours during the public opening, I shared a drink with a masked man, got stood up, danced with strangers, exchanged kisses, dressed in drag and had my head partially shaved as people wandered in and out of the gallery. With each partner, I explored different facets of my romantic fantasies: poetic and performative; private and intimate; queer and submissive. Hundreds of pages of printed out emails, chats, and pictures lined the walls, providing a somewhat elusive context for relating to the real life drama.
This recent work is my most personal to date.
MFA Tyler School of Art, Temple University BA
University of Pennsylvania
SOLO AND TWO PERSON EXHIBITIONS
2015 Public Play , Practice Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2014 Yo Soy Oro , with Maya Escobar, Taller Puertorriqueño, Philadelphia, PA
2013 The Resurrection of HunNalYe , with Maya Escobar, Bruno David Gallery, St. Louis, MO
2011 Last Ride , with Diamond Tooth Taxidermy, The Rotunda, Philadelphia, PA
2008 I’m Real , Temple Gallery, Philadelphia PA
2008 Descend , The Lighthouse, Philadelphia, PA
2015 REACTIVATOR , The Active Space, Brooklyn, NY
2015 JEWEL , Norte Maar presents @ Schema Projects, Brooklyn, NY
2014 Endless Care , Small Editions, Brooklyn, NY
2013 Blue, White, Red , with Maya Escobar, Bruno David Gallery, St. Louis, MO
2012 PAPELES: Are We What We Sign? The Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA
2011 RICHOOUH’L, RICHOOUH’L , performance with Maya Escobar, Jolie Laide Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2011 Illuminations: Dia de los Muertos 2011 , with Maya Escobar, SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA
2009 WW6: New News is Old News , with Maya Escobar, Gallery Affero, Newark, NJ; Gowanus Studio Space, Brooklyn, NY
2009 About to Surface , The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Philadelphia, PA
2009 The Joan Mitchell Foundation 2008 MFA Grant Recipients , CUE Art Foundation, New York, NY (catalogue)
2009 Casa de Venezuela’s Diálogo 365 , The Ice Box at Crane Arts, Philadelphia, PA
2008 ID , Projects Gallery, Philadelphia, PA 68th Annual Juried Exhibition , Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA
2007 From One State to Another , Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
2007 Every Artist is a Person , FLUX Space, Philadelphia, PA
2007 Von Heiner Bis Mueller , Labor K1, Berlin, Germany
2007 Badge of Honor: The Project , curated by Pepon Osorio, The Lighthouse, Philadelphia, PA
PRIZES AND AWARDS
2008 Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant
2004 University of Pennsylvania President’s Award, Fine Arts Major Award, Kelly Research Grant
RESIDENCIES AND FELLOWSHIPS
2013–2014 Workspace Residency, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York, NY
2013–2014 Visiting Scholar, NYU Steinhardt School, Department of Art and Art Professions, New York, NY
2010–2011 40th Street Artist in Residence Program, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
2006–2007 Temple University Future Faculty Fellowship, Temple Rome Scholarship
AS YOU CHANGE 2010 + 2104 , Edition of 100. Small Editions, Brooklyn, NY, 2014.
“ Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, and Home ,” Res: A Journal of Undergraduate Research, vol.1 no.1, 2004, pp.161-177″1177.
Samantha Melamed, “Celebration of Latin Culture on Sunday Could Only Be A Start,” The Philadelphia Inquirer , September 21, 2014.
Benjamin Sutton, “ 10 MustVisit Studios, 10 MustSee Exhibitions and More at Bushwick Open Studios 2013, ” Artinfo , May 20, 2013.
Christy Khoshaba & Kate Elston, “ MISSION EYES: SOMArts’ Day of the Dead Celebration ,” (media feature), Mission Local, October 10, 2011.
Libby Rosof, “ Last Ride of Andria Morales with Stuffing by Beth Beverly ,” theartblog.org , May 27, 2011.
Marc Londo, “‘ Last Ride’ Signals New Start for Temple Performance Artist ,” Examiner.com , March 31, 2011.
Eric Schuman, “Last Ride,” Philadelphia City Paper , March 24, 2011.
Tyler Coburn, “ The Work of Amanda Nelsen, Matthias Pliessnig, Andria Bibiloni and Susan Kirby ,” CUE Presents: 2008 Joan Mitchell MFA Grant Recipients , June 2009.
John Vettese, “ Movable Stereotype ,” Philadelphia City Paper , March 18, 2009.
Edith Newhall, “ Young Artists Pick Up Pen and Paper Again ,” The Philadelphia Inquirer , June 20, 2008.
Libby Rosof, “ Descend to the LighthouseAndria Bibiloni in the Pool ,” www.theartblog.org , April 26, 2008.
Vernon Clark, “ Prison Time: A Latino Lament ,” The Philadelphia Inquirer , April 25, 2007.