Stripping, Comic Stripping: ‘Sex, Death, and Visceral Honesty’ Art Gallery

Julia Conant, Staff Writer

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The Central Connecticut Art Gallery housed in Maloney Hall currently displays comics drawn by independent female artists in its exhibit, “Sex, Death and Visceral Honesty.” The exhibit features comics from over 30 female artists, ranging from the 1960’s to present day. 

“’Sex, Death, and Visceral Honesty'” represents independent women’s comic book artists,” Layet Johnson, co-curator of the exhibit said. “Not merely as an underrepresented category of artists, but as artists who are and have been telling stories concerning their bodies and experiences in patriarchal society since the 1960’s underground comics scene.”

The significance of the exhibit being held at this point in time is that the world is amidst a feminist demonstration.

The “Me Too” movement promotes women empowerment by battling sexual assault. The women’s underground comic movement of the 60’s also empowered women, as they were finally given an outlet to express themselves creatively.

Co-curators Leela Corman and Johnson created this exhibit to give female comic creators, whether their work was produced in the 60’s or recently, the chance to have a voice in this feminist movement.

Corman and Johnson did everything they could to have this exhibit feel authentic to visitors.

CCSU student Kiernan Foster found it fascinating how the artists based their comics on their own experiences.

Mary Fleener’s comic, “The Jelly,” details Fleener’s struggle with being sexualized and having her worth based on her body when she was a young adult. Throughout the comic, Fleener points out the negative side to being a woman such as having stretch marks on her breasts and dealing with cramps.

However, male characters in the comic find the feminine attributes such as breasts arousing. Foster claims this is to show that while men sexualize the female body, women struggle from appearance issues and physical pain because of their bodies.

Not only do these comics send a strong message of female empowerment, but they also exhibit great artistic quality. The artists implement many subtle techniques to help convey their messages, something that students and professors alike can appreciate.

“I like how Lucy Knisley portrays emotion, as well as identifies youth solely through the use of color,” CCSU student and artist Charles Hosek stated. He recognizes that it takes a talented and experienced artist to use colors to tell a story through their art.

Whether you are an art major or not, there is something in this exhibit for everyone to enjoy. Some students have returned to the exhibit after being satisfied with their first visit, staying until closing hours. One will not find themselves bored with the exhibit as there are many captivating comics on display.

Admission for the “Sex, Death, and Visceral Honesty” exhibit is free of cost for CCSU students, as well as the general public.

It is open from now until Thursday, Nov. 15, and is located on the second floor of Maloney Hall. CCSU Art Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 1 to 4 p.m.

Many of the works on display do contain explicit content, therefore parental discretion is advised when bringing younger visitors.