Saya Woolfalk’s work draws you into an alternative universe, one that you’ll want to stick around in and explore.
As an artist she uses paint, sculpture, video, digital art, textiles, costume and performance to create work within multi year projects such as ‘No Place’, ‘The Empathics’ and ‘ChimaTEK’.
At the centre of these projects is the world of the Empathics, a fictional race of women who are able to alter their genetic make-up and fuse with plants. Like much of Woolfalk’s other work these projects allow her to explore issues around race, identity, science and gender. Empathy means the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. The characters give her the chance to question and challenge the possibilities of a world where cultures collide or come together.
“My work has been about trying to blur things, make things hybrids, make things a little less clear. By creating a space of discomfort and ambiguity, participants can come to a more complex clarity about who we are and how we move in the world.”
Japanese anime and African textiles are some of the visual references in Woolfalk’s work influenced by her mixed cultural heritage. Her fascination with science fiction and fantasy gives her inspiration for project concepts, their names and the way she talks about her art.
The Seattle Art Museum has produced lots of different videos about their exhibitions and featured artists. Stop by and have a look.