Dog & Pony closes its first season with exhibitions on bodily autonomy and self-identity

click to enlarge Images from the My Body, My Truth exhibit currently on display at Dog & Pony gallery space. - COURTESY CHRISTOPHER RUSSELL
courtesy Christopher Russell
Images from the My Body, My Truth exhibit currently on display at Dog & Pony gallery space.

Dog & Pony aims to give voice to women artists whose creative expressions are repeatedly dismissed by the close-minded, patriarchal nature of the art scene.

The private South Hill exhibition spot is hosting the first-ever showing of My Body, My Truth, a collection organized by the Association of Hysteric Curators. The association is a Los Angeles-based feminist art collective dedicated to creating an intergenerational, nonhierarchical and racially diverse forum for women and their allies.

“We want to create opportunities for the people, feminists and their allies, to be in the kinds of shows that steer the discussion and change the world,” says Mary Anna Pomonis, artist and founding member of the Association of Hysteric Curators.

At the same time it exhibits My Body, My Truth, Dog & Pony will host Recent, a solo exhibition of photographer June T. Sanders, who tests the limitations of portraiture through a trans and queer perspective.

The pair of collections celebrate the conclusion of the first exhibition cycle by Dog & Pony, says Christopher Russell, artist and founder of the space.

My Body, My Truth brings together work from 34 intergenerational women who use an array of mediums to address gender identity, abortion, sexual expression, race and other topics.

Pomonis says the group was unsuccessful pitching My Body, My Truth to any galleries until Russell expressed interest. Not only has the association’s exhibition found a temporary home at Dog & Pony, but Pomonis will be an EWU art program guest speaker Oct. 11 on behalf of the Association of Hysteric Curators.

click to enlarge Images from the My Body, My Truth exhibit currently on display at Dog & Pony gallery space. - COURTESY CHRISTOPHER RUSSELL
courtesy Christopher Russell
Images from the My Body, My Truth exhibit currently on display at Dog & Pony gallery space.

Dog & Pony is the first gallery to pursue the collection and wholly accept and embrace its exploration of choice, truth and personal agency.

“If you’re not giving complete freedom to your artists, then you are not really running an art space,” Russell says.

Due to controversy surrounding the topic of bodily autonomy — specifically abortion — displaying My Body, My Truth at his home did involve special consideration.

“It ups the fear factor for me, because this is my home, and this is an extremely touchy subject,” Russell says. “But it has to be done, and these things need to be discussed.”

The Association of Hysteric Curators began to plan and create My Body, My Truth a few years before Texas’ recent attacks on abortion rights. Now, with autonomy rights at risk in the U.S., the collection holds an even more crucial meaning for these artists.

“Right now, we are at a really critical point,” says Allison Stewart, artist and founding member of the collective. “I think people are starting to realize it because of Texas, but before I think everybody just relied on the fact that [Roe v. Wade] couldn’t be touched. Times are changing.”

Since hearing of Dog & Pony’s support, the exhibition has received two additional offers to show My Body, My Truth in Arizona and California.

While the Association of Hysteric Curators show represents artists beyond the region, Sanders is from south central Washington state.

Through her art, Sanders intends to blur the viewer’s distinction between images capturing individuals the artist has personal connection with or has merely encountered in that moment. It’s about closing those gaps and creating ambiguity, she says.

“My vision has been to think of myself as an image maker and as an artist instead of a photographer,” Sanders says. “Because that makes a difference.”

Sanders sees this pairing of collections as a huge opportunity to break down dichotomies and tie together the intentions and ideals of artists.

“[Dog & Pony] knows how to give art the space that it deserves,” says Sanders. 

My Body, My Truth • Open through Nov. 21 • Tickets and address available by appointment; email DogAndPonyShow@ChristopherRussell.Art

Mary Anna Pomonis • Mon, Oct. 11 at 3 pm • EWU, Art Building, Room 108

Mirror, Mirror: The Prints of Alison Saar @ Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU

Tuesdays-Saturdays. Continues through March 12
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