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THERE IS A TENSION BETWEEN WHO YOU ARE AND WHO SOCIETY TELLS YOU YOU SHOULD BE. I MAKE PORTRAITS OF THAT TENSION.

 

FIND YOURSELF IN WILD ERA ART


 

The Wild Woman Era Begins

Gretchen Andew’s new feminist archetype

 

Not long ago, nestled within the confines of a lush, otherworldly garden, there lived a woman named Gretchen. She was known far and wide for her intelligence, creativity, and unwavering determination. Gretchen’s home was a breathtaking Eden, a paradise of Valentine’s Day roses and flowing champagne, but she was also trapped in a pink, glittery, and ineffectual shape in which her divine inspiration was always in relation to, reactive to, in response to the algorithms that, even as she came to prominence showing her ability to manipulate them, determined for her and other women the body’s value, the merit of their art and the financial value of their work. She had become known for her Vision Boards that hacked the art world and major political institutions, yet this paradice was a garden still controlled and regulated by algorithms, designed to normalize and tame the true feminine spirit. 

 

Gretchen's life in the garden was one of exquisite beauty, but it was also one of constraint and control. The algorithms that governed every aspect of her existence dictated when she should wake, what she should eat, and even how she should express her thoughts and desires and which thoughts and desires were valid to express. The garden's vibrant flora and melodious fauna, while enchanting, were curated to fit within the confines of a prescribed aesthetic, conforming to an idealized vision of femininity that left little room for the wild and untamed spirit that dwelled within Gretchen’s heart.

 

She toiled diligently, nurturing the garden's flora and caring for its fauna, all the while sensing that she was living in someone else's world, attempting to work within someone else's system. The algorithms that controlled her life were insidious, subtly eroding her connection to her own instincts and desires, leading her to doubt her own authenticity. Gretchen yearned for more, for a life that was truly her own, where she could unleash the untamed wilderness that stirred within her soul.

 

One fateful night, as a coconut-white moon beam melted her fear of being seen, illuminating the garden with an haunting glow that seemed to be made of a more authentic way to shine.  Gretchen heard a melody carried by the wind. It was a call, a primal call from the wild that beckoned her to break free from her gilded cage. With newfound determination and courage, she embarked on a daring journey beyond the garden's borders, leaving behind the algorithms that had confined her but also the only world she knew.  A world of rules, however confining, has safety, predictability, and certainty. 

 

Yet she did not miss the garden. 

 

As Gretchen ventured into the untamed wilderness, she felt a transformation overtaking her. Her once-tamed spirit began to awaken, like a dormant volcano erupting with raw power. She shed the trappings of the algorithms and embraced the true essence of her femininity—the fierce, untamed, and unapologetic wildness that had long been suppressed.

In the wild, Gretchen let her hair flow like cascading waterfalls and her eyes sparkled with the wisdom of the ages, and her laughter echoed through the forest like the song of a free-spirited bird. She danced under the canopy of ancient trees, her movements a celebration of the natural world and her own liberated spirit.

 

Gathering her new courage from the ground and the stars, Gretchen began to embark on a new body of work, one in which her wild woman power could battle the invisible algorithms out in the public, in the open air, on the same canvas. And it is here where the story meets us today, with Gretchen riding fast back to the garden, hair flowing in the wind, in pursuit of a battle that will help other women shed the constraints of societal norms and algorithms that sought to tame their spirits. She is armed for this battle with her wild but also with her knowledge of the garden and how its algorithms work, the seeds of this knowledge the undoing, the rewilding it is rumored her new creations will bring.  

 

We know there is magic in reclaiming our authenticity, embracing our true selves, and connecting with the wild and primal forces of the universe. I have heard this new wild era is coming. Will you anticipate it with me? I will stand arm in arm with you as we reclaim our wild and untamed worth.  

Thanks to curator Katharina Birkmann for requesting and publishing this text.

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