Sequential Self: Gender and Identity in Comics
Gender and Identity in Comics
Moudy Gallery, Texas Christian University
September 30 – October 21, 2021
The Art Galleries at TCU are proud to present Sequential Self: Gender and Identity in Comics, focusing on artists in the genre of comics. This exhibition showcases twelve artists whose work illuminates the complexity and intersectionality of gender and identity through autobiographical, historical, and fantastical narratives. Sequential Self: Gender and Identity in Comics will be on-view at Moudy Gallery from September 30 – October 21, 2021, with an opening reception on Thursday, September 30th from 5-7pm, hosted outdoors in the Moudy courtyard.
Sequential Self: Gender and Identity in Comics features works by Rebecca Artemisa, Trinidad Escobar, Ashanti Fortson, Melanie Gillman, Levi Hastings, Christine Mari, Erin Nations, Kosmo X. Parker, Jules Scheele, Christine Suggs, Sunmi, and Antoinette Thomas. This exhibition is curated by artists Iris Bechtol, Cultural Programs Coordinator, Oak Cliff Cultural Center, and Lynné Bowman Cravens, Gallery Manager, The Art Galleries at TCU.
At the heart of Sequential Self is a love of comics and a desire to share the visual and written narrative of artists working in the genre. Mainstream comics have often favored cisgender white male voices, while creators who do not identify as such have remained at the fringes. However, in recent years there has been a steady turn towards inclusivity in both mainstream and indie comics, showcasing stories reflecting a variety of experiences, voices, and identities. As diverse creators have flourished and gained more followers, it is important that their voices are amplified and celebrated.
Comics can offer the viewer an intimate connection with artists and stories being told that goes beyond other artforms. The artists featured in Sequential Self share personal and honest stories of self-discovery, explore cultural histories and ancestral roots, delve into the multidimensional aspects of sexuality and gender, navigate mental health and physical disabilities, address race and identity, and look back through history to explore unseen narratives. Their sophisticated storytelling, character development, and strong illustrative styles invite readers into snippets of their personal experiences or worlds that mirror real life.
In Moudy Gallery, Sequential Self presents a combination of digitally created comics and works made using traditional mediums, showing the wide range and approaches to producing comics. Not only exploring the diversity in creators and topics, but also in form and media. The gallery will also host a reading library for visitors to utilize while in the space. The in-gallery library will feature more extensive comics, graphic novels, and anthologies featuring the exhibiting artists, plus many other artists and creators. These materials will be donated to TCU’s Mary Couts Burnett Library at the end of the exhibition.
Live events accompanying the exhibition include:
- Opening reception hosted outdoors in the Moudy courtyard, Thursday, September 30th, 5-7pm
- Artist Talk and Workshop by artist Christine Suggs, Friday, October 8th, 1-3pm. Capacity for this event is limited to meet Covid-19 restrictions. Attendees for the Artist Talk and Workshop must RSVP to email@example.com.
- Curator Talk in Moudy Gallery by Iris Bechtol and Lynné Bowman Cravens, Tuesday, October 12th, 12-1pm.Capacity for this event is limited to meet Covid-19 restrictions. Attendees for the Curator Talk must RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Virtual Panel Discussion featuring a selection of the exhibiting artists will premiere on The Art Galleries at TCU YouTube channel, Monday, October 18th, at 6pm.
Join us for the many ways to experience Sequential Self: Gender and Identity in Comics.
Live programming forSequential Self: Gender and Identity in Comicsis funded in part by the TCU College of Fine Arts, Arts Programming & Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Initiative.
About the Artists
Rebecca Artemisa makes comics, zines, and paintings that are rooted in her heritage, in her dedication to queer happiness, and in reclaiming her original spiritualities. https://www.instagram.com/rebeccaartemisa/
Trinidad Escobar is a cartoonist, poet, and musician from Milpitas, CA. Her comics have been featured in journals like Shenandoahand The Brooklyn Reviewas well as other publications such as NPR,The New Yorker, and The Nib. In 2019, Trinidad was named as one of YBCA’s most influential global artists for her comics-journalism and community workshops grounded in gender and racial justice. In 2020, her works were featured in Eisner and Ignatz-winning anthologies likeDrawing Power (Abrams) and Be Gay, Do Comics(IDW). Her poem-comic on sexual violence is currently on display at the first-ever international Women in Comicsexhibit in Rome, Italy. www.trinidadescobar.com
Ashanti Fortson is a cartoonist, illustrator, editor, and professor with a deep interest in difficult emotions, quiet moments, and the rifts and connections between human beings. Their work explores transience and reflection through a tenderhearted lens, and a good comic essay will always brighten their day. They won a Prism Award as part of the comics anthology Heartwood: Non-binary Tales of Sylvan Fantasy, and their solo comic Leaf Lacewas nominated for three categories of the 2021 Ignatz Awards (Outstanding Artist, Outstanding Comic, and Outstanding Online Comic). Ashanti is currently working on their debut graphic novel, Cress & Petra(HarperCollins). They live in Baltimore with their beloved spouse, their large and beautiful cat Miss Cheese, and at least three mischievous pet rats at all times. www.ashantifortson.com
Melanie Gillman is a cartoonist and colored pencil artist who specializes in LGBTQ books for kids and teens. They are the creator of the Stonewall Honor Award-winning graphic novel As The Crow Flies(Iron Circus Comics, 2017), as well as Stage Dreams(Lerner/Graphic Universe, 2019). In addition to their graphic novel work, they also teach in the Comics MFA Program at the California College of the Arts. http://melaniegillman.com
Levi Hastings is an illustrator, cartoonist and visual artist in Seattle. His work reflects lifelong obsessions with natural science, history and Queer culture. www.levihastings.com
Christine Mari is a 23-year-old Japanese-American comic artist based in Los Angeles, California. At age 15, she self-published her first book, Halfway Home, an illustrated account of a summer she spent traveling in Japan. In 2016 Halfway Homewas expanded and published in full color as Diary of a Tokyo Teenby Tuttle Publishing. Mari continues to share comics online on a wide range of topics, from her experiences living in Tokyo to her multiracial identity and everyday struggles with anxiety and depression. In 2020, she ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to self-publish Kokoro, a 300-page compilation of her Instagram comics. She is currently working on her first graphic memoir with Little, Brown and Company. https://www.instagram.com/christinemaricomics/
Erin Nations is the writer and illustrator of the comic book series Gumballs(DINKY Award winner, Eisner nominated, and Ignatz Award nominated) published by Top Shelf Productions. His work has appeared in Original Plumbingmagazine, Vision Quest, Full Bleed, and the We’re Still Hereanthology. He lives in Portland, Oregon.www.erinnations.com
Kosmo X. Parker (xe/xem/xyr) is a community-taught artist making works that center life at the intersection of being Black, queer, and trans. Xe took up visual art in 2015 as a form of self-therapy, and through that process, xe discovered their trans identity. Now Kosmo enjoys creating art that reflects transition journeys of not only xemself but of other nonbinary and trans folx of color as a way to honor QTPOC communities’ unpacking, understanding, and decolonizing the experience of gender. https://www.instagram.com/_spacebones/
Jules Scheele is a freelance illustrator, comics artist and graphic facilitator based in Glasgow. They specialize in graphic storytelling and illustrations that help translate and bring a human touch to difficult concepts, and their art focuses strongly on mental health, queerness, activism and community. Over the last few years they have illustrated a series of Graphic Guides with Dr. Meg-John Barker and Icon Books, including Queer: A Graphic History, and graphic guides about gender and sexuality. www.julesscheele.com
Christine Suggs is a comic artist living in Dallas, TX with their wonderful partner, 1 dog, and 2 cats. They're currently working on a YA graphic novel about spending their summers in Mexico as a teen, set to release in 2023 from Little Brown Young Readers. Christine's work explores the intersection of their identities, namely being a queer, fat, Latinx leftist who loves all things cute. Bonus facts: their day job is in app design, they are an avid Dungeons & Dragons player, and they're quite obsessed with their cats. www.christinesuggs.com
Sunmi is a cartoonist whose work explores themes of emotional distance and fantastical femininity, within a framework of queer and Korean diasporic identity, mythology, and history. Their debut YA graphic novel Firebird, which follows these threads, will be published with HarperCollins in 2023. https://sunmiflowers.com/
Antoinette Thomas is a Brooklyn based multimedia artist that works as an illustrator, painter, and pyrographer. The comic strips Thomas creates move between meditations on daily struggles, as well as a more direct social commentary that addresses the audience head on. Subjects like race, being a woman, the workplace, etc. are all tackled with a whimsical humor. In some instances she uses herself as a character within these scenarios, infusing a personal flare to share with her audience. For the artist, being able to experience representation of Black people outside of a lens of oppression and strife, is imperative. Thomas aims to build a world of works that normalizes the image of Black people and celebrates their bodies, experiences, and culture. www.theantoinettethomas.com
About the Curators
Iris Bechtol is an artist, educator, and curator living in Oak Cliff – Dallas, TX. With a passion for sharing the work of Texas based artists, her curatorial practice carefully considers exhibition projects as they reflect the community. Creating access through education, her projects present diverse perspectives in a platform that combines exhibitions with engaging discussions, workshops, and lectures. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Intermedia from the University of Texas at Arlington and is currently the Cultural Programs Coordinator directing gallery exhibitions at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center in Oak Cliff - Dallas, TX. Bechtol was a member of Texas’ oldest artist collaborative, 500X Gallery from 2001-2005. She is founder and curator for Terrain Dallas, a temporary public exhibition space with a focus on exhibiting site specific, temporary interventions by established and emerging artists in and around the landscape of a suburban front yard. www.irisbechtol.com
Lynné Bowman Cravens is the Gallery Manager at The Art Galleries at Texas Christian University. She is also a fine art photographer working in an interdisciplinary method. Through meticulous physical distortions and transdisciplinary techniques Cravens creates photographic pieces that address her personal experiences, identity, and physical form. She received her BA in Photocommunications from St. Edward’s University, and her MFA in Photography from the University of North Texas. Her work has been featured in multiple publications, and has exhibited nationally and internationally. Cravens is currently working on a large-scale public art commission for the City of Fort Worth Public Art Program. www.lynnecravens.com
About Moudy Gallery
Moudy Gallery is located on the Texas Christian University campus in Moudy North Building at 2805 S. University Dr, Fort Worth, TX 76129. Regular opening hours are Monday to Friday 11am – 4pm, Saturdays 1-4pm, and by appointment. Admission is free. Moudy Gallery is now open to the public and in step with TCU’s Covid-19 protocols we ask that visitors follow these guidelines:
- All visitors (students, faculty, staff and general public) must wear masks in the galleries, maintain 3ft social distancing and sign-in for contact tracing purposes. A gallery attendant will be on hand if you have any questions or forget your mask.
- If you would like to bring your class or a group to the galleries, please contact us by email to arrange ahead of time at email@example.com. To meet our occupancy guidelines we may need to split large classes or groups depending on which gallery you visit.
These guidelines are subject to change. We will circulate updated guidelines for visiting the Galleries if needed. You can also follow all of TCU's Covid-19 updates here: www.tcu.edu/protect-the-purple/
For more information about this exhibition, images for press, or details about other activities of The Art Galleries at TCU please visit the Galleries website www.theartgalleries.tcu.edu, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 817-257-2588.
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Virtual Materials coming soon
Thursday, October 21 at 11:00 am to 4:00 pm