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Unstable Entity

Rebecca Drolen

Filter Photo is pleased to present Unstable Entity, a solo exhibition of work by Rebecca Drolen. This exhibition coincided with the 2023 Filter Photo Festival, alongside our annual small works exhibition, we like small things v.6.

Unstable Entity uses photographs and architectural constructs to explore balancing and tipping points within culturally unstable expectations of female strength, resilience, and bodily performance. The work compares physical bodily forms to ad-hoc assemblages that are tenuously balanced using common building materials. Within this juxtaposition is a meditation on the body as an architectural construct and the unsettled standards of what it means to be a “strong woman.” The collage of forms speculates on the relationship of female strength to intimidation, sexuality, and desire and the individual stamina required to pursue both mental and physical wellness. Female body builders enter the work as a form of archetype or idealized body representing a maximized performance of strength and physicality. The artist’s performances pursue stamina, wavering balance, and the labor associated with managing the collision of roles between being the subject and operator of the photograph. The work is a montage of layered priorities alongside feverish persistence to perform to meet the standards of contemporary femininity, despite its distinct illogics.

About the Artist

Rebecca Drolen (b. 1983) is an artist and educator working in Arkansas. Her photographs are concerned with how individuals visually assemble their identity and the constructed ideals placed on gendered bodily performance. Her work explores the breadth of how photographs can take form in contemporary art as it incorporates built spaces, assemblage and performance.

Drolen’s work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions on a national and international level, within noteworthy venues such as the Huffington Post, Oxford American’s “Eyes on the South,” the Light Factory, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Springfield Art Museum, The Oklahoma State Museum of Art, the CICA Museum in Gimpo, Korea, and the Theory of Clouds Gallery in Kobe, Japan. Drolen has had work published in various art books, magazines, and blogs and has photographs held in private and institutional collections.

Drolen is an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas School of Art and co-Area Head of the Photography program. She considers teaching a core priority within her art practice and is respectfully impacted conceptually and creatively by her students.

On View: August 11th – September 30th, 2023 

Location: Filter Space | 1821 W Hubbard St, Suite 207

This exhibition was partially sponsored by The Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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