Alice Lang, Cool Story Bro: AF Projects, Los Angeles
Cool Story Bro is a new body of work by Alice Lang which incorporates text, symbols and slogans from recent history and popular culture, to explore ways in which language, speech and text can be used to oppress or liberate a body.
This work taps into the fraught historical relationship between women and swearing and the rich history of using such language as a means of challenging oppressive social and cultural norms. The use of marbled paper within the work makes historical reference to decorative cover pages within books. The labor-intensive process of tracing around these marbled collaged letters over and over again is a meditative act that stops language in motion and fixes it in place on a page outside of the body.
The smiley is a symbol that regularly surfaces in Langs work. Initially created as a symbol intended to boost the morale of employees, it has since morphed to represent various counter cultural movements, drug cultures and emojis. Shown alongside a series of feminist slogans and a cascade of curse words, the meaning of the smiley shifts again to reference the oppressive use of speech that objectifies women through catcalling and asking them to smile.
These sentiments are echoed in a series of ceramic works that explore the body as a site of objectification. Clothing and fashion are a form of social communication that is often perceived to play a key role in encouraging the objectification, dehumanization and denial of agency for female bodies. This series of ceramic clothing featuring cut outs that would leave a body exposed explores and complicates these ideas challenging the notion that clothing (which conforms to modesty norms) is a safe space.
Alice Lang is an Australian artist currently based in Los Angeles. Her cross-disciplinary art practice utilizes a variety of media such a ceramics and painting to examine how existing power structures disseminate and manifest within individual bodies and mass culture. Her work examines the way in which culture and context influence the meaning and value of text, objects and images and how this shifting relationship can be used to subvert dominant paradigms and reclaim space for female voices.
Lang graduated from the MFA program at CalArts in 2015 and has completed residencies in Canada, New York and Los Angeles. She has been the recipient of awards such as the Queensland Art Gallery Melville Haysom Scholarship (2009), Australia Council New Work Grant (2012), Lord Mayors Emerging Artist Fellowship (2012) and the Freedman Foundation Traveling Scholarship for Emerging Artists (2013). She is also a founding member of the feminist art collective LEVEL which is based in Brisbane, Australia.