STATEMENT 

I organize experiences that fuse everyday life and experimental performance. Employing my own personality as a medium, I facilitate situations that engage diverse publics in alternative rituals and sociological experimentation. I use existing environments—from art galleries to online digital culture—as makeshift stages to explore a broad range of human activity.   

    
Expanded Statement 
I am interested in how place and environment influence us. Geographic regions and architecture inform my research for performances and I draw on the international and local languages of the visual culture wherever I live and work. Boundary-crossing and humor are additional pretexts for enriched social interaction within my work. I am committed to themes of accessibility and treat my performances as conceptual public art that functions within and beyond the designated gallery walls, including the online, digital environment.

 


My run for Mayor of Santa Barbara was a form of public performance that explored the boundaries between art and life in a post-Trump age in which anyone can become the star of his or her own reality TV show. The sense of political instability and a lack of essential self also underpins my recent performance projects. In an age of online pornography, extreme fetish sites, and the rise of amateur content in the form of YouTube performances, tutorials and more, anyone can insert him or herself into digital space. In response, I create and insert myself into a website advertising Real Lonely Dolls. Here, I perform between the analogue and digital realm, attempting to grapple with my own isolation and depreciating value as a human female body in a rapidly accelerating world of artificially intelligent erotic robot dolls. Within this techno-utopian context, I explore my own creative potential to identify, commodify and advertise aspects of myself in a self-deprecatingly humorous way that questions who or what is desirable and worthy of love. 

 


The Lonely Painter, for example, straddles the art world and popular digital culture in videos that function as “self-healing” meditations and simultaneous homages to Bob Ross. In these, I paint meandering doodles and cryptic phrases while maintaining a pleasant demeanor and dialogue with the viewer. Drawing inspiration from Hennessy Youngman who taught postmodern art theory through a hiphop lens in hilarious viral videos called Art Thoughtz, I sought a rejoinder to his approach to online art pedagogy. The Lonely Painter waxes expansive on artistic subjects such as how to sell art and how the concept is more important than the actual painting (which excuses her lack of concern over the imagery and technique). In this work, I straddle the line between the traditional studio and post-studio realm of digital space. I employ humor to engage the viewer in a dialogue surrounding the art market in late capitalist culture. My work reflects aspects of futility and optimism in equal parts. 

 


I am interested in selective occupations of professional roles, public space, and social rituals that shape and define individual identity and culture. Weddings, dinner parties, political campaigns and museum lectures are all theoretical sites for creative intervention. The Lonely Painter, The Mission, Real Lonely Dolls, Running For Mayor, Dream Disaster and other projects involve calculated speech acts and scripted performances that draw from my interdisciplinary background in curating, writing, music, research methods, theater and sociology. I treat the art and exhibitions as aesthetic media for creating a dialogue with the viewer. Rather than strictly placing objects on display, I approach art and curating from a critical, creative, educational and social standpoint. I employ digital video and new media as tools to encourage public participation in visual culture. I seek to facilitate alternative experiences of art and exhibitions, including how conversations can aid in the understanding and reception of images. 

 


-Maiza Hixson
Using Format