Track 16 presents Los Angeles-based artist Elyse Pignolet in her solo exhibition, “You Should Calm Down.” The exhibition presents a new body of work that includes items of the domestic realm––wallpaper, plates, platters, and vases feature decorative and traditional hand-painted design. Yet cloaked words or phrases, which express familiar and oppressive ways to stereotype and categorize women, sit unobtrusively within the decoration.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is I Am a Woman, a mural examining the experiences of contemporary female life. Consisting of over 500 tiles, this 14 x 9 foot mural portrays women’s lives. From the mundane daily rituals to the politically transgressive, a theme of female empowerment runs throughout the broad-reaching depiction. Images of sex and masturbation, self-identity tropes, self-care, pop-culture, trauma, and motherhood are all utilized in order to examine the dialectic between feminism and misogyny.
While past works have included drawings, paintings, installations, and murals, Pignolet is primarily a ceramicist who subverts expectations in a medium associated with both domestic art and feminism. Themes in her work have shown a contemplation of the urban environment in the form of sculptures that replicate graffiti tags and car rims. Recently, working in the feminist tradition, Pignolet has turned attention to themes of misogyny and inequality. Vases and dishes are glazed with traditional, delicate, organic patterns in blue, yet upon closer inspection, images and text containing politically confrontational, unapologetic messaging hide within. These hidden images, words, or phrases use suggestive innuendos and tropes that are all too common in our language and culture. The affect is a compelling dissonance between benign decoration and misogynistic message, which makes the viewer confront transitory everyday language frozen onto a permanent vessel.
Born in Oakland, CA, Elyse Pignolet is an American with Filipino heritage, living and working in Los Angeles. Pignolet received a BFA in Ceramics from Cal State Long Beach in 2007. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Elyse Pignolet: You Should Smile More, Koplin Del Rio, Seattle, WA (2019); Art & Activism: An Exhibition About Change, Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Kahului, HI (2019); Didn’t you know what you were carrying on your back? Track 16 at Rosalux, Berlin, Germany (2019); Relevant, Craig Krull, Los Angeles, CA (2018-2019); Woman, Prographica/KDR Gallery, Seattle, WA (2018); American Procession, Track 16, Los Angeles, CA (2018). She has completed several public art projects including three large murals at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco and the Gaffey Street Public Swimming Pool in the Los Angeles neighborhood of San Pedro. Her works have been featured in several contemporary arts publications including the LA Weekly, Juxtapoz Magazine, Huffington Post, KQED, and the Los Angeles Times. Pignolet was awarded a fellowship to the Ballinglen Arts Center, Ireland in 2019.