Heather Benjamin’s Maiden Form

Don’t be fooled by the pink hues in Heather Benjamin’s curatorial debut “Maiden Form,” currently on view at Andrew Eldin Gallery. The last decade’s trend of all-girl group shows arguably only perpetuated the myth of the eternal feminine, seemingly fixated on the cis woman’s experience of erotica and menstruation. What makes Benjamin’s exhibition stand out is her selection of artists, who responded to her call for “meditations on femininity” with subversive and poignant work centred on their individual experiences. There’s a spooky element to this show—Maren Karlson’s blooming alien, We’ll See If I Can Be Born Again, Risa Hiratsuka’s melted Rose Man wax candle, Brook Hsu’s crumbling rug, Pregnant. We would expect no less from Benjamin, who has made a name self-publishing exquisitely disturbing illustrations in zines like Sad People Sex. Gogo Graham’s sculpture, Alone But At Ease, is easily the apex of the show, a twisted drywall female form presenting herself on the floor wearing a thong and a wicked smile. Graham’s  “dragon lady” sculptures represent Hannya, the Japanese mask used in Noh theatre to depict a jealous woman transformed into a demon. “Maiden Form” is on view at AEG Underground until August 3rd. – Claire Milbrath

Gogo Graham, Alone But At Ease, 2018

Brook Hsu, Pregnant, 2018

Install shot, dress: Caley Feeney, Shy Girl by Stacey Q., 2018

Maren Karlson, We’ll See If I Can Be Born Again, 2018

Risa Hiratsuka, Rose Man, 2018

Emma Kohlmann, Blue Butterfly, 2018