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SIDNEY MULLIS

STATE COLLEGE, PA

 

In my creative research, I find myself wedged in a space where gender matters tremendously and matters not very much at all.

Gender, agreed to be a social construct, regularly flirts with sexuality. They can be distinct from one another, but are usually involved. Both are serious subjects of study consistently under scrutiny to understand what they really are; yet, they operate on fluid spectrums of ever-expanding lexicons and are celebrated for this inclusivity. Again, mattering to admit to not mattering at all. It is this very instability of their categories that produces such intrigue and pleasure for me as a maker. Driven by haptic obsession, it is through making that I try to understand them.

By constructing performance-based video, interactive objects and sculpture, I ask what it means to woman – and to understand the narrow bandwidth in which it is performed despite its shifting reality.

Considering gender to be a stylized repetition of acts, I study how woman is looped in social space. I study her from a coming-of-age transition meaning that I focus on when these bodies learn to repeat the very gestures that communicate this gender. I employ craft techniques suitable for children and materials, such as spandex leotards and fake fingernails that are introduced to young girls to perform their appropriate script. Withholding their cultural signifiers associated with to-be-woman, I merge these materials to interrupt and remix existing codes and scripts. These combinations are then situated on the body to be recorded for video or in space to speculate how form and movement carry gender.

My studio practice is visual playground to probe how gender exists – despite whether we tacitly agree that it does or not – in the present and for the future.


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Sidney Mullis lives and works in State College, PA. Her work has been exhibited in a number of locations including Berlin, Germany and Tokyo, Japan. She has had solo shows at the Leslie Lohman Museum (NYC), Bucknell University, Future Tenant Gallery (Pittsburgh), Lock Haven University, University of Mary Washington, and more. Recent group exhibitions include Trestle Gallery (NYC), Galleri Urbane (Dallas), pehrspace (LA), Area 405 (Baltimore), and Woman Made Gallery (Chicago). Sidney Mullis is the recipient of the MASS MoCA residency, Ox-Bow MFA Residency, and a Creative Achievement Award from Penn State University. Sidney Mullis is represented by Galleri Urbane (Dallas, TX).

 

Mullis teaches Sculpture and 3D Foundations at Penn State conveying the impact objects have in space and assisting students to navigate this within their own work. She is currently the program coordinator of the John M. Anderson Endowed Lecture Series (Penn State’s visiting artist program) and communications coordinator for Penn State's School of Visual Arts.