Robyn Renee Hasty
Curated by Walker Waugh
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 11, 6–9 pm
On view: June 11- July 4
Z is an exhibition of unique, glass plate portraits by American photographer Robyn Hasty. For the past year, Hasty has been an artist and teaching resident at Pioneer Works, exploring 19th century wet-plate collodion tintype and ambrotype developing processes to produce an extensive series of nude portraiture. The resulting selection of portraits in Z are both canonical and enigmatic; formally classical compositions that subtly challenge gender-binary conventions by disorienting the perception of how gender is expressed and embodied. The title of the exhibition refers to a proposed gender neutral pronoun.
Working with transgender, cisgender, and a spectrum of genderqueer and gender nonconforming individuals, Hasty’s work deconstructs the rigid, often limiting representation of the nude body in search of a more diverse, fluid identity. The portraits are richly textured studies of a solitary sitter or pair seated on a chaise lounge, in an environment whose detail all but evaporates at the peripheral edge of the glass plate. Hasty’s subjects defiantly gaze directly at the viewer, inverting the traditional role of the photographer’s gaze by challenging the viewer to question their own boundaries and definitions. As a result, the series evokes connection while also being deeply transgressive, straddling a line between vulnerability and empowerment that defines Hasty’s process.
Robyn Renee Hasty (b. 1985) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Her practice explores transitional identities, liminal spaces, and marginal societies in order to upend conventional systems of power. She has travelled down the Mississippi river on a handmade raft, driven across the U.S. taking Tintype portraits of people living off-the-grid, and founded Stilt City, an artist residency rebuilt in a flooded bungalow in the Rockaways. Her photographs, sculptures, and installations have been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe, and have been profiled on NPR, and in The New York Times, and Wall Street Journal, among many other publications.