Alex Orellana is the winner of the 2017 Chazen Museum Prize for an Outstanding MFA Student. Orellana is a third-year MFA student in the UW–Madison Art Department. They received their BFA in photography from the University of Georgia. Orellana will work with Chazen staff to mount the exhibition.
IMAGE: Alex Orellana (American, b. 1988) (Left) Man, (Right) Woman, 2016, archival inkjet prints, 24 x 16 in. each.
From the Artist
Depending on if I’m read as male or female, I am often treated very differently. This read is based on subtle cues: depending on my hairstyle, clothes, posture, mannerisms, and company, there are assumptions that people make about my personality, capabilities, orientation, and interests.
For this show I’ve made a series images of myself as different genders to show that the things we see as inherently masculine or feminine are arbitrary. I can affect my appearance to look more like a standard man or woman, but what do these appearances mean if I can occupy all of them from a single body? What assumptions am I inviting by making particular aesthetic decisions? And what exactly separates me from my sister and brother, or my mom and dad?