OLIVIA BURKE is a senior at UWM•PSOA working towards her BFA in painting and drawing. She depicts dreamlike, flourishing environments in a state of unaltered beauty as a way of challenging systems of power and creating conversation about alternative ways of living. Burke points out the interrelation between the violent behaviors and body policing enacted upon the female population with the deforestation and destruction of the natural world.
PHOENIX BROWN is a senior at MIAD working towards her BFA in fine art with additional emphasis in writing and art history. Her present body of work explores the mental and social complications of being a young overthinking, hyper-aware, African-American. Brown recently completed her first residency at the Yale Norfolk Summer School of Art in 2018 and is currently the Collections and Communications Manager at MIAD.
There is a common duality in activism of being direct and nuanced. The ownership of identity and exemplification therein creates a balance of presence for a cause and withdrawal for personal wellbeing. Burke and Brown challenge power structures by presenting ownership of identity through surreal abstraction. In doing so, they lay a foundational understanding of the female body, what is natural, and a profound emotional response to our socio-political environment.