Alexis Bullock

Queer Bodies (2020)

Vellum artists’ books with linoleum block print covers
5″ x 3″

For this open series, I interviewed queer people in my life, asking them about their experiences with queerness, rest, and their bodies. Each book contains excerpts from one of these interviews and has a printed cover inspired by those excerpts.
Full collection and text:

Hysterical Beautification (2020)

Collage on paper and vellum
12″ x 8″

This work is a reflection on what women’s hysteria would truly look like and be caused by, recognizing its history in the oppression of women while also using its language to describe how everyday sexism often feels.

To Be At Rest (2020)

Flannel and fleece body pillows, pedestal, collected poetry books, mattress, blanket
Dimensions Vary

We hold our oppression and trauma in the body, and this bodily experience can be magnified for queer folk, who often have complicated relationships with their bodies. This installation was made to provide moments of rest for queer folk and their bodies.

Artist Statement

I am a multidisciplinary artist who makes work about the body, queerness, gender-based stereotypes, and prejudiced discourses through installation, collage, and printmaking. I investigate how and when bodies are policed, turning towards personal experiences, interviews with peers, and moments in popular culture to understand how language is used to define what bodies are supposed to do and be. Through my art, I explore how small pieces of American culture fit together to create an acceptance towards the oppression of and violence against queer people and women. My art becomes collaborative when I reference moments in history, literature, or the news, when a viewer brings their own experiences to my work and takes it in a new direction, and when I interview people and use their stories to create or inform an artwork. Interviews with others have become integral to my practice, especially when I make works that allow for the multiplicities inherent in queerness. In these works, each participant defines what queerness means for them, but for me, queerness is the potential for elasticity of one’s identity–queerness is expansive and rejects the rigidity of other labels.

My two-dimensional works pair found text with images from literature, history, and popular culture to comment on the ways in which queer communities and women are ostracized, attacked, and objectified. I explore how and when advertisements and the news promote rape culture, beauty standards, and heteronormativity to better understand dynamics of power in American culture. By removing text and imagery from their sources, my work highlights and critiques popular culture’s fixation on sexualized and battered women, opening up discussion about why this imagery is so common.

My installations turn towards a more healing approach, focusing on creating spaces of community and rest for queer people. To me, being at rest means existing in the body in a way that resolves tension, acknowledges trauma, and imagines new possibilities of how the body can move and be. This rest can come from movement, relationships, sleep, reading, breathing, and more, taking on a different definition for every person. With my work, I have created community-centered immersive environments by asking queer people from across the country “What makes your body feel at rest?” Through these interviews and the different ways in which people behave when they enter into these spaces, the installations become a collaboration with the audience, creating a space where multiple ideas of what it means to be at rest can be realized.

Throughout all of my works, regardless of medium, I focus on how our bodies inform our experiences, are represented in the media, cause assumptions about who we are, and place limitations on us. With this, my work also explores how the body encodes and responds to oppression and trauma, looking for ways to allow the body to be at rest.