Ali Medina is a Brooklyn based interdisciplinary artist. They received their B.A. from Bard College in 2012 and their M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in 2017.
I produce images that are simultaneously photographic and sculptural. Using a commercial scanner, I capture impressions of physical objects and environments as they come into contact with the scanner bed. The results are architectural abstract images that aim to challenge conventions of classification and enable non-normative modes of embodiment, particularly in relation to gender.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about abstraction as a means of potentiality. I am interested in using abstraction as a tool to dismantle the confines of categorization, in order to shed light on the divergences that emerge in perceptual experience. Manipulating the scale, dimensionality, and perspective of objects distorts their legibility; creating allusions and suggestions of things without ever completely identifying them. In this sense, the images are specific in their ability to be unnamable.
My work presents the observer with a series of propositions that are intentionally hard to decipher or name, alluding to a more complex state of recognition that exceeds visual taxonomies and cultivates openness. I am drawn to abstraction because it hints to a mode of being that transcends the constraints of conventional, socially prescribed roles and identities. The pieces that I am making investigate the spaces between categories. The viewer does not need to concretely define so much as engage with and explore these objects in relation to their personal reflections and intuitions.
This work gives space for the observer to arrive at their own individual analogies of bodily relations. In this sense, abstraction grants us the freedom to simultaneously cultivate both particularity and multiplicity. It has the ability to produce nominations of the body that are open, dynamic, plural, and generative. Abstract forms create metaphors for the body and act as receptors to the viewer’s own identifications and empathies. They can offer a position from which to work out new visualizations of personhood and to consider altered states of embodiment.