Zoe Forsyth is an artist from Chicago, Illinois. Her work explores themes of alienation, queerness, and desire through multi-series projects. The foundation of her work is creating images using her own body, photography, and sculpture to blend realism with the surreal into something beautifully blunt. Abstraction becomes a key element in her effort to reflect the disparate tension between her body and the banality of the everyday. Her work aims to display vulnerability, giving as much of herself as she can to the viewer.
My art is a reflection of my interest in sociological studies of social and political hierarchies merged with my own experiences in a queer, feminine body, to delve into the suppression of the erotic and consider its source of power and how it informs our lives. Drawing on intersectional feminist tradition, including Audre Lourde's invitation to use the erotic as power, I explore the ways in which the foundation of western societies’ patriarchal hegemony, capitalism, and religious ideology serve to oppress sexuality.
In collaboration with my inspirational photographers, Katy Liemandt and Bella Bobrow, who achieve multiple exposures shot on film, my performance art series shows abstracted images of my body inextricably, entwined with yarn. The layered photographs create the illusion that the yarn is not only enveloping my outside but coursing through my insides, like blood. The yarn functions to convey my inability to escape objectification and the weight and burden of carrying trauma that feels so intertwined with the inner workings of who I am. Along with my series of photographs I include an oil painting. The painting encompasses similar themes but is more direct in its attempt to showcase power. Ultimately, I wish to assert to the viewer both the power and vulnerability in the erotic and to reclaim autonomy over my sexuality without the influence of shame.
The 2021 Irwin Scholars are Abby McPhillips, Caroline Alfonso, Cassidy Skillman, Chloe Calhoun, Connor Alexander, Kalen Meeks, Klytie Xu, Louisa Balderas, Lucinda Gold, Saul Villegas, Sydney Geisinger, and Zoe Forsyth.