January 24, 2020  through April 23, 2020 in the Guest Artist Gallery


What does it look like when we attempt to re-remember and master the archival BDSM and kink narratives that have been constructed from the lens of patriarchy, fetishism and medical gatekeeping? With videos, photographs, drawings and installations, artists Caleb Yono and Melissa Hespelt respond to and negotiate ideas of desire, the male gaze and sexual autonomy present in the historical materials located at the Leather Archives & Museum.

“Cinema’s greatest power may be its ability to evacuate meanings and identities, to proliferate resemblances without sense or origin. … There is no structuring lack, no primordial division, but a continuity between the physiological and affective responses of my own body and the appearances and disappearances, the mutations and perdurances, of the bodies and images on screen. The important distinction is not the hierarchical, binary one between bodies and images, or between the real and its representations. It is rather a question of discerning multiple and continually varying interactions among what can be defined indifferently as bodies and as images: degrees of stillness and motion, of action and passion, of clutter and emptiness, of light and dark.”
- Steven Shaviro, the Cinematic Body

How do we process the complex networking of empowerment, misogyny and sexual/gendered nomativities in images and ourselves?

Caleb Yono (1981) works with representations of figures caught in moments of transformation and transmutation. Caleb's works on paper, performances, photographs, videos, and objects; Yono hopes to understand and process the dissonance and harmony of the feminine, femme, and hysteric. Caleb holds an MFA from The School of the Art institute of Chicago in painting and drawing. Caleb has exhibited with both national and international galleries including Andrew Rafacz, Monya Rowe, and Roots and Culture.

Melissa Hespelt (1996) is an interdisciplinary artist working to free glamour, superficiality, and the erotic from their negative connotations with feminism by engaging in acts of embodiment, transformation, & self- objectification. Melissa holds a BFA from The School of The Art Institute.

Curated/Production by Vicente Ugartechea