Hannah Traore Gallery is pleased to present Fruiting Bodies: Creatures of Culture, an installation of hand-fabricated glass by artist Deborah Czeresko (she/they) that formally references the wild glamour of a forest. Posing glass as an androgynous material, Czeresko explores how the fluid state of glass embodies the parallel ways in which LGBTQIA+ culture and natural ecosystems germinate and grow. Through sculpture, the artist explores philosophies of queer identity, glamour paradigms, chosen family and community, abundance in marginalization, and the nonbinary quality of glass.
As in a forest, Czeresko’s constructed environment is built from the floor to an imagined canopy. The forest floor consists of 1200 pounds of glass “soil” populated by hand-sculpted glass mushrooms, fruiting bodies, decaying leaves, and neon mycelium. Above, a pink beaded curtain acts at the understory: a portal welcoming the viewer into a queer ecological environment. Referencing door beads popular in the United States during the psychedelic 1960s, the curtain marks a departure from the conceived reality of the physical world into the “alternate” consciousness of the interior gallery space. In the “canopy,” the Queer-delier offers a bright light that filters through the forest layers. Each chandelier arm emulates a tree branch, encrusted with tiny mirrors similar to the surface of a disco ball—referencing queer nightclubs, a nexus for the LGBTQIA+ community where identities were pieced together and people could be themselves unapologetically.
Mycological research affirms the message that being queer is natural. According to fungal taxonomist Dr. Patricia Kaishian “Mycology is queer at the organismal level. Fungi are nonbinary, they are neither plants nor animals but possess a mixture of qualities common to both groups upending the prevailing binary concept of nature.” The fungi form symbiotic associations with the roots of other plant species. Czeresko offers a unique depiction of the mycelia network, denoting a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups where all are thriving—a Queer ecology of limitless abundance, expansive creativity, and an instinct toward pleasure.
Deborah Czeresko is a New York City-based artist and designer, best known for their work with glass. Their work references food, art history, gender, and their experiences as a queer artist. Czeresko first started working with glass at the New York Experimental Glass Workshop, now known as Urban Glass in 1987, receiving their MFA from Tulane University in 1992. In 2019, Czeresko captivated viewers as the winner of the inaugural season of Netflix’s Blown Away. As a glass artist, Czeresko creates work that challenges societal norms and speaks on queer issues. Their work references the traditions of Venetian glass blowing while also adding contemporary discussions on feminism and gender politics. Czeresko has most notably been shown in the Corning Museum of Glass, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Toyama Glass Art Museum and the Toledo Museum of Art. Czeresko is the recipient of various fellowships and residencies including Tyler School of Art, UrbanGlass, NY, LUCA School of Art, Belgium and College of Creative Studies, Detroit.