Art show turned illustrated book Crime Against Nature features paintings by Gwenn Seemel showing (presumably) same-sex animals in loving embraces. The show is already up at Place Gallery in downtown Portland, with a second opening celebration tomorrow from 5-8 p.m. There will also be an artist’s talk on January 5th from 2-3 p.m also at Place. It has also been made into a book is now available as a free digital download or $32 for a print version.
After finding out she could not have children, Seemel wanted to explore the primordial need to reproduce and what makes us “men” and “women.” She enlisted the help of renowned evolutionary biologist, trans woman, and author of Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People, Joan Roughgarden for her introduction and describes the exhibit:
What do single moms, stay-at-home dads, professionals who happen to be women, men who like to dress colorfully, infertile people, and homosexuals have in common? They’re often viewed by society as sad, bad, and even a little suspicious. Those judgments all stem originally from one idea: that females are naturally passive and more caring, and males are naturally aggressive and more intelligent. It’s an idea that is deeply embedded in our social system and dictates much of our behavior. It’s also an idea that has nothing to do with what is actually going on in nature.
Crime Against Nature is meant for the kid in all of us,” she says, “the person who hasn’t yet felt the pressure to conform, the one who still sees the infinite possibilities of being.”
Seemel is a full-time artist who writes and creates videos in English and in French for her award-winning blog about her work, portraiture, the business of art, free culture, feminism, and her struggle with endometriosis. She is the recipient of grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Oregon Arts Commission, the Celebration Foundation, the Haven Foundation, Change Inc, and Artists’ Fellowship Inc. Her work has been written about by the prominent portraiture scholar Dr. Richard Brilliant and it is in the collection of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art.
About Alley Hector
Alley Hector is proud to be a Q, a PDXer and Just Out's Editor-in-Chief.