Arena - Rose Nestler, Anna Queen & Benjamin Spalding
The three artists included in the exhibition use the aesthetics of sports and athleticism to consider broader narratives about material, queer and feminist histories.
Rose Nestler's work highlights the ways that societal norms and gendered stereotypes play out on the body and on the field. Her sports bra sculptures demonstrate the ways in which clothing can at once dictate power and gender while her video works demonstrate how that power is enacted through ritual and collective action.
Anna Queen's work explores the materials and objects included in sports and training. Removing any prescribed actions and the bodies that enact them, Queen presents athletic objects in a systematic way to call attention to their formal characteristics and functionality, or lack thereof.
Benjamin Spalding presents a series of figurative sculptures collectively titled JOCKJAMS that approach sports and sporting equipment through a lens of queerness as a means of celebrating the marginalized body. In this sense, jerseys, helmets and padding are not just protection but act as objects of pageantry and ritualized empowerment. Although some aspects are kept consistent in terms of equipment and gesture, the context shifts from viewing these figurative athletes being just “team players,” to representing radical and celebratory bodies.
Rose Nestler is an interdisciplinary artist focusing in sculpture and video. She received her MFA degree from Brooklyn College in 2017 where she was awarded a Graduate Teaching Fellowship. Her work has been exhibited at a variety of galleries and institutions including, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Thierry Goldberg, Ortega Y Gasset, Underdonk, Smack Mellon, University of Illinois/Springfield, Crush Curatorial, and CUCHIFRITOS Gallery and Project Space. In 2018 Rose was a recipient of the BRIC Art FP Open Call, her solo show, Gymnasia, was exhibited in their Project Room in Brooklyn, NY. Most recently her wall hangings and videos were part of a two person show presented at SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2019. She has been an artist in residence at Lighthouse Works, Chashama Workspace Program, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center and Byrdcliffe Artists Colony. Her work has been featured and reviewed in Vulture, Maake Magazine, Art of Choice and Art Space.
Follow Rose on Instagram: @rose.nestler
Anna Queen (b.1990) is an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture and video. She graduated in 2013 from Maryland Institute College of Art earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics. Anna has been a Resident Artist at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Vermont Studio Center, The Banff Centre, and Monson Arts. She has had solo exhibitions at New System Exhibitions, Portland, ME, Steel House Projects, Rockland, ME, and Firecat Projects, Chicago, IL. She has been included in recent group exhibitions at Critical Distance, Toronto, ON, Knot Project Space, Ottawa, ON, and Skowhegan, New York, NY. In 2015 she was a participant at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She currently lives and works in Rockland, Maine.
Follow Anna on Instagram: @annafqueen
Benjamin Spalding is a Portland-based interdisciplinary artist interested in exploring ideas surrounding the body via ritual, sport, and dance. Spalding was raised in southern Maine, a locale which forced him to recognize his own body through difference (he is Puerto Rican and queer). While receiving an undergraduate degree in Mass Media studies from New York University, Spalding developed a love for figuration and set design while working as a stylist assistant at publications such as Interview Magazine, and Men’s Vogue.
After New York, Spalding relocated to Berlin, Germany for 8 years to define his studio practice. It is in Berlin where he began researching the phenomenology of club culture, as well as the cultural fervor surrounding sports. He has been shortlisted for the Illustrative Award, Germany (2011), featured by the Future Generation Art Prize (2012) and moderated a panel at the International Sculpture Conference regarding materiality and the marginal identities (2017), and has been recently finished his tenure as a resident at the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation. Spalding also works as part of the creative force behind Visceral, a queer techno part in Boston. He received his MFA from Maine College of Art (2017) and is currently adjunct sculpture faculty.
Follow Benjamin on Instagram: @ex__voto