Albuquerque-based artist Welly Fletcher’s sculptural practice activates lines that question normative gender roles, sexual orientation, and identity.
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Albuquerque-based artist Welly Fletcher’s sculptural works focus on “the diagonal as a literal manifestation of queer politics.” In doing so, they act as material forms of resistance “to the straight, right angles of the normative world.”
Rooted in the feminist theory of Judith Butler, the cyborg theory of Donna Haraway, and the queer phenomenology of Sara Ahmed, Fletcher’s practice activates lines that question normative gender roles, sexual orientation, and identity. These diagonals challenge our adherence to binary thought, hierarchical systems, as well as patriarchal, heteronormative, white supremacist ideologies.
More than providing a critique of the center, though, Fletcher’s artworks offer an alternative vision of more equitable worlds by creating “objects that enact support and interdependence,” instead of “singular monoliths.” For instance, the artist, who uses she/they pronouns, composes some of their sculptures from multiple elements which are used to balance, lift, level, or secure one another. Similarly, they use felt, wood, clay, and steel in order to demonstrate the manner in which disparate materials interact so as to develop a holistic experience comprised of a “plurality [of] bodies.”
With so much material and formal attention given to interdependence, it should come as no surprise that the artist champions collaborative endeavors. “Collaboration,” Fletcher says, “is often an element of my overall practice, which manifests as projects made with other artists and as objects that may require the viewer’s participation to complete.” Such practices and projects foreground the communal and interdependent nature of existence, promoting a more egalitarian and inclusive platform than the rugged-individualist mythos often associated with the American West.
Fletcher, who also teaches in the art department at the University of New Mexico, hopes that her “artworks can provide alternate paths and possibilities. I believe the expanded field of sculpture—and my work within it—offers increasingly rare opportunities for an embodied, intersectional, poetic experience of otherness.”