“I have arrived, I am found.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh
beLONGING highlights the work of four LGBTQIA+ artists, Carmel Dor, THECOLORG, Abbey Muza, and Meg Wolensky. Each artist’s practice reflects on identity – what forms a sense of self? How do we find ourselves through resonance with others? Gestures of recognition and affirmation appear in each artist’s work, pointing to the idea of identity as an act of self-realization, a dialogue unfolding in between oneself and others in (nonlinear) time. Through textiles, painting, and sculpture, the artists locate threads of connection across space and time in myths, poetry, archival research, performance, and lived experiences. Fragments are pieced into new holistic constellations in Abbey Muza’s tapestries and Meg Wolensky’s paintings. THECOLORG's soft sculptures explore the overlap and slippage between our embodied and digital selves, while Carmel Dor’s paintings revere the potential for reinvention offered by transition and time. Taken as a whole, the exhibition explores the complex bonds of community, kinship, and desire which form the outlines of belonging in both inherited and chosen worlds.
In alignment with the rich history of self-publication across LGBTQIA+ communities, beLONGING will include an interactive zine-making station using materials from the artists and a pop-up reading room with books and zines that reflect on the themes present in the exhibition. Through these interactive resources, the gallery supports space for people to connect with each other, with the exhibition, and with the communities in which they find belonging.
Carmel Dor (they/them) is a Philadelphia-based artist, educator, and poet. Their research-based practice uses painting, drawing, zine-making, and sculpture to investigate felt time in moments of transition. In their recent work, Dor is particularly interested in how queer theories of mutable identity formation map onto the Jewish Diaspora and Israeli Nationality as sites of historical and necessarily forthcoming transition.
THECOLORG (she/her) is a millennial feminine queer interdisciplinary artist and professional arts administrator based in Philadelphia, PA. THECOLORG is also a handmade plush brand/entity, focused on creating unique and custom plush for people of all ages.
Abbey Muza (they/them) uses weaving as a methodology for image-making centered in queer identity, haptics, and sensuality. Their weavings and intimately scaled text drawings are both rigorously researched inquiries into queer archives and language, as well as compositions where material, image, and concept shift and collapse together.
Meg Wolensky (she/they) is a queer Philadelphia-based professional arts administrator and visual artist. Meg performs oil painting as a healing practice to accompany C-PTSD recovery. In the aftermath, Wolensky translates colorful fragments of experiences, memories, and dreams into a cohesive whole. This evolving investigation takes physical form in paintings, drawings, photography, and collages that layer cross-sections of personal narrative.
This exhibition is part of the citywide project (re)FOCUS, a collaboration among over 25 of Philadelphia’s visual arts institutions to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of FOCUS, a milestone exhibition of American women artists, held in Philadelphia in 1974. In revisiting FOCUS, (re)FOCUS includes a new generation of diverse artists working around themes of gender, sexuality, and intersectional identity.
Moore College of Art and Design Galleries is the lead institution with participation from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, African American Museum of Philadelphia, Woodmere Art Museum, University of the Arts Galleries, Tyler School of Art, University of Pennsylvania, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia Mural Arts and others.
Learn more about (re)FOCUS exhibitions and events here: https://refocus2024.org/