Divining the Future of the Past / Hyperallergic

Documentation of Donna Huanca’s “Scrying Threats” performance/installation at Queer Thoughts Gallery, Chicago (image courtesy of the artist and Queer Thoughts)

Documentation of Donna Huanca’s “Scrying Threats” performance/installation at Queer Thoughts Gallery, Chicago (image courtesy of the artist and Queer Thoughts)

CHICAGO — Donna Huanca is from the South Side of Chicago, and she hasn’t been back here since she was 15, an adolescent girl. The postcard for her solo exhibition Scrying Threats at Queer Thoughts Gallery is an image of Huanca and 14 other girls, all about the same age, adorned in gold chains and sweatshirts, wearing a similar shade of maroon-colored lipstick and posing, not smiling, fierce and proud and sad and beautiful. Huanca ditched class to hang out with these friends, and during that time they took this photograph — a bit out of focus, appearing as a fuzzy memory of adolescence, it serves as a disembodied psychic connection between the past, present, and future of the artist herself, who appears at the opening both in human and ghosted form.

The exhibition consists of a photograph of Huanca and friends, and a compact, fluorescently lit room in the gallery space where a white female performer, nearly nude, alternates from kneeling in front of a mirror to slathering the walls with glow-in-the-dark goo. Fashionably disembodied fabrications of body parts and matching clothing articles — a cast white sneaker with a cylinder of wood shoved in, covered by a red-and-blue mesh sheet of fabric — are situated next to a shoe growing yellow and blue foam. A white pole rests inside that shoe, and on top of it hangs a sliced-open green goblin mask, its white mouth and red-spray-painted teeth gutted. Velour fabric rests in another corner, as if tossed there; elsewhere a pair of boxing shorts are positioned waist to the ground, and an army coat covered in splotches of white, neon blue, yellow, and red camouflage against the earth tone camouflage print hanging on the wall. The performer wanders around this space, her body covered in henna; she receives subtle instructions from Donna, but mostly just moves around the space in an intuitive manner, wandering, and painting.

Read the full review on Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/85500/divining-the-future-of-the-past/