Bodies Left Behind / Hyperallergic

Brenna Conley-Fonda, “Untitled (Photographs by SPC. Charles A. Graner, SPC. Lynndie England and SPC. Sabrina Harman)”  (2013) (all images by the author for Hyperallergic unless otherwise noted)

Brenna Conley-Fonda, “Untitled (Photographs by SPC. Charles A. Graner, SPC. Lynndie England and SPC. Sabrina Harman)” (2013) (all images by the author for Hyperallergic unless otherwise noted)

CHICAGO — There’s always some sort of surprise awaiting you in the basement. Consent is not necessary here; you are allowed to freely descend the stairs of Woman Made Gallery, where two solo exhibitions by Brenna Conley-Fonda and Robin Hustle await. Both of these artists implicate their bodies and bodily experiences in their works, asking questions about how consent operates and, more importantly, who has control over the laws surrounding bodies.

Brenna Conley-Fonda’s A Way of Closing My Eyes actually allows the voyeur/viewer into artwork that is less abstract or theoretical, and more emotional, perhaps even poetic. Since 2005, Conley-Fonda has been working on a collection of hair drawings based on the notorious 2004 images of torture in Abu Ghraib prison. She isolates specific acts of sexualized violence and torture, and creates outlines of those bodies through the use of collected hair. We cannot forget the moment these images leaked, exposing the U.S. torture and prison abuse in Iraq. These are arguably related to the American Insta-Aesthetics of War, which my colleague Jillian Steinhauer further unpacked in this post. Conley-Fonda remembers when these images first became visible online; she didn’t have a reaction to them. Perhaps they were too obvious, just more images of sexualized violence in a culture that commodifies, abstracts and consumes bodies, seeing them as objects, and de-humanizing based on their class and race. Through re-creating these images with hair, Conley-Fonda brings a human aspect to them, perhaps even a personal one, again rendering the personal political even as the (body) politic arrives via mediated screens.

Read the full story on Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/76056/bodies-left-behind/