Umico Niwa and Peat Szilagyi
September 3 - 26, 2020
916 NW Flanders St
Portland, OR 97209
Coochie, featuring new individual and collaborative works by Umico Niwa and Peat Szilagyi. Solar Coochie opens on Thursday, September 3 and runs through Saturday, September 26. Gallery hours are noon – 5 PM, Thursday – Saturday. Social distancing rules allow for no more than two visitors in the space at a time. Visitors must maintain 6 feet between one another, and masks are required.
Solar Coochie playfully challenges classical affinities of the feminine with the passive power of the moon, realigning it with the active agency of solar power. Through a grouping of new sculptures and wall works, artists Umico Niwa and Peat Szilagyi investigates cycles of life and energy recentered around flowering and fruiting bodies. Co-opting cultural associations between the floral and female genitalia, and acknowledging their real function as genitals within a heliotropic life-space, the phrase solar coochie is, at its simplest, bawdy slang for flower. Beyond this starting point, however, the exhibition becomes a fulcrum for upending a series of cultural assumptions (particularly Western cultural assumptions) by providing non-deterministic narratives and models of energy exchange, (pro)creation, and, transcendence.
Umico Niwa (b. 1991, Japan) received her MFA in Sculpture + Extended Media from the Virginia Commonwealth University. Niwa’s solo show, Fruiting Bodies, is currently on display at the American Institute of Thoughts and Feelings in Tucson, Arizona. She has also recently been invited to lead a workshop, together with her partner, “Meet Your Gremlin, Make Your Gremlin” at Recess Gallery in Brooklyn, New York City.
Peat Szilagyi (b. 1987, Los Angeles, CA) is an interdisciplinary artist who was raised in Los Angeles in a Afro-Caribbean/Hungarian household. Szilagyi has travelled from Japan to Nigeria (and many places in-between) for site-specific projects, collaborations, and performances that commemorate the inexplicable, the unquantifiable, and richly anti-structured. Peat received their BA from Williams College and their MFA in Sculpture + Extended Media from Virginia Commonwealth University. They have recently spoken at various conferences on the intersections of psi, spirituality and aesthetics in Europe and Vietnam, and are currently working on programming emphasizing queer expression for femme-identifying artists in Kumasi Ghana.