Andria Morales

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Artist Statement

When I got married and changed my last name, I staged a funeral for my former self in the style of a “muerto parao,” a dead person displayed frozen in a lifelike position using a technique made famous by a funeral home in my ancestral homeland Puerto Rico. I sat still for two and a half hours on an adult tricycle equipped with a custom bass amplifier that played a mixed soundtrack of heavy metal, reggaeton, hip hop, classical, and original music composed by my husband. Only through photos and videos could I later see all of the friends and strangers who attended, and how their behavior played out in the context of this familiar yet foreign experience.

I began working with do-it-yourself audio ten years ago, inspired by the youth in the Latino section of Philadelphia where I lived, wanting to express my complex feelings of affinity with the community and my estrangement from it through messy profusions of musical genres and custom details. Over time I’ve constructed many portable audio devices, conceiving of them as contemporary artifacts. Using 3D modeling and printing technology or modifying readymade objects, I design custom enclosures for electronics which I wire together with decorative embellishments. These devices are not only disruptive, but transformative when worn on the body, and I experiment with these qualities in my performances with them.

My name change led to a fascination with the process of obtaining new forms of identification. The Social Security card struck me in how such a decorated flimsy piece of paper could hold the power to define one’s identity in the eyes of government and financial institutions. Using simple digital photography and editing skills, I worked up twelve different versions of my old and new cards, representing twelve different people derived from slight adjustments to my own documents. Amused by the illusion of counterfeiting, I translated my permutations into 3D-printed “copies” which feature different characteristics on either side.

Identity transformation is a concept I explored intimately when my best friend from adolescence invited me to help document his transition from female to male. I felt that if he were to make himself vulnerable by posing nude for the portraits, that I should also take photos in which we both stood exposed side by side. We repeated the same series of poses each month for the first six months of his hormone replacement therapy until my friend moved across the country. Four years later, we finally had another chance to restage the photos. I published a small selection of the full series in a 12 page full color zine titled “AS YOU CHANGE 2010 + 2104.” Each zine is accompanied by a wallet sized photo of the two of us in our high school band uniforms in 2000. I’ve also exhibited a larger selection of 40 images from the project in a non- linear array, emphasizing the uncertainty in the perception of physical shifts that happen over time.

My most recent body of work came about when my marriage ended. Single for the first time in eleven years, I dealt with the pain of rebounding from a long term relationship and reassessing my sexuality through my activities in online communities and real life. In “Public Play,” I set up a profile on a popular online dating site, soliciting partners to conjure up a scenario for our first meeting. My profile received over 3,950 “Likes” and over 300 messages. I filtered responses by fully disclosing my intention to play out our first meeting at an artist-run gallery, and began developing connections with three men and one self-described dyke who agreed to participate, typing lengthy conversations about our desires and past relationships for several weeks. Over four hours during the public performance, I shared a drink with a masked man, got stood up, exchanged kisses, dressed in drag and had my head partially shaved as people watched the impromptu dates unfold. 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.

Several months later, I joined an online BDSM and fetish network where I could connect with the LGBTQ and kink communities. I also returned to the original dating platform, where I met someone with whom I explored gender role reversal, and reconnected with the people I met through my earlier project. In “SMS/ F–Life,” I represented the chaos of so many overlapping interactions by digitally collaging portions of my online profile, text message conversations, photos, and comments together in an enlarged format. Tiled together in a window pane pattern onto wall-sized reflective sheets of thin metal, the work invites a voyeuristic view into my private life during a time that I struggled to understand myself by relating to a community of others.

 

CV

EDUCATION
MFA Tyler School of Art, Temple University
BA University of Pennsylvania (cum laude)

SOLO AND TWO PERSON EXHIBITIONS

2016
Confirmations, Declarations, Doubts: Andria Morales & Aaro​n McIntosh, Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE.
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

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2016
S​omething I Can Feel, performance, curated by Derrick Adams, VOLTA, New York, NY
2015
Editions/ Artists Book F​air with Small Editions, New York, NY
EXPO Editions and B​ ooks with Regina Rex , EXPO Chicago, Chicago IL
REACTIVATOR, The Active Space, Brooklyn, NY
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
PAPELE​ S: Are We What We Sign? The Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA
2011
RIC​H­OO­UH’L, RICH­OO­UH’L, performance with Maya Escobar, Jolie Laide Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Illumina​tions: 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
About to Surface, The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Philadelphia, PA
The Joan Mitchell Foun​ dation 2008 MFA Grant Recipients, CUE Art Foundation, New York, NY (catalogue)
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
Von Heiner Bis Mueller, Labor K1, Berlin, Germany

PRIZES AND AWARDS
2014­15
Emerging Artist Grant Nominee, The Rema Hort Mann Foundation, New York, NY
2014
Grant Nominee, Art Matters Foundation, New York, NY
2008
Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant
2004
University of Pennsylvania President’s Award, Fine Arts Major Award, Kelly Grant

RESIDENCIES AND FELLOWSHIPS

2016
The Art & Law Program, New York, NY
2013-14
Workspace Residency, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York, NY
Visiting Scholar, NYU Steinhardt School, Department of Art/ Art Professions, New York, NY
2010-11
40th Street Artist in Residence Program, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
2006-07
Temple University Future Faculty Fellowship, Temple Rome Scholarship

PUBLICATIONS
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, 161­177

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
2016
Sargent, Antuwan, “​Body Politics Take Front and Center at NY VOLTA Art Fair​,” Vice.com, March 3, 2016.
2015
Luff, M​el, “Andria Morales: AS YOU CHANGE 2010 + 2104,” ​People of Print, August 15, 2015
H​offheins, Meredith, “Endless Care @ Small Editions,” ​Painting is Dead, January 10, 2015
2014
Samantha Melamed, ​“Celebration of Latin Culture on Sunday Could Only Be A Start,” ​The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 21, 2014.
2013
Benjamin Sutton, “​10 Must­Visit Studios, 10 Must­See Exhibitions and More at Bushwick Open Studios 2013,​” ​Artinfo, May 20, 2013.
2011
Marc Londo, “‘​L​ast Ride’ Signals New Start for Temple Performance Artist​,” ​Examiner.com, March 31, 2011.
2009
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.
2008
Edith N​ewhall, “​Young Artists Pick Up Pen and Paper Again​,” ​The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 20, 2008.
Vernon Clark, “​Prison Time: A Latino Lament​,” ​The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 25, 2007.

WORK EXPERIENCE

2008­2011 Adjunct Assistant Professor, Tyler School of Art, Temple University