Ladies Choice is an ongoing series highlighting female artists working in New York City and beyond. This series honors the power and ingenuity of women in the arts. Women have traditionally received much less exposure and recognition in the art industry. In their support of one another, these women stand as a testament to furthering the careers of female artists.
In her own words, Genesis Belanger creates absurd things to discuss the absurdities of the structures we exist in. Belanger’s background and interest in advertising and its ability to tap into human’s deepest psychology plays a fundamental role in her practice. Her ceramic works appear light-hearted, fun, and often a little odd, though each has an underlying history and profound story to tell. Genesis is based in Brooklyn, NY.
You are part of a young generation of female artists hustling and gaining recognition in NYC. What does being a part of a strong female community mean for you?
I think it’s incredibly inspiring. Being surrounded by women who I respect and admire is one of the main reasons I live in NYC.
Which female artists, living or dead, inspire you most?
Louise Bourgeois, Lee Bontecou, and Dorothea Tanning
Have you experienced firsthand the underrepresentation of female artists in the art industry?
That depends on what you mean by first hand. If I am in an art history class and all the important movements being taught are devoid of women, does that count as first hand?
Have you noticed a change in opportunities available for female artists since you first entered the art world?
I have. When I finished grad school Zombie Formalism was at its peak. That moment of processed-based abstraction was male dominated. We are currently in a much more inclusive moment. Its incredible to see so many shows focused around women artists. I can still remember when group shows often didn’t include a single woman.
If you could change one thing about the current landscape for working female artists what would it be?
I would change the male dominated perspective. There is a lot of behind closed door chatter from men in the art world talking about how this is such an awful moment for art, pointing out what they see as rampant tokenism, and generally complaining about their (perceived) diminishing opportunities. Is it a more competitive field if the available opportunities are inclusive and accessible to ALL, hell yes! This should be motivation to open up and expand what we are comfortable looking at. If we’ve only been seeing work from one perspective, and have built a cannon on that perspective, it’s impossible to quantify something new using the same standards.
You worked in advertising before focusing on art as your full-time career. Can you explain how that work influenced your artistic practice?
In the advertising industry visual language is a powerful and profitable tool. We are manipulated and exploited by our own desires. This is extremely interesting to me. I still look at advertisements as one of my main sources of inspiration.
What about ceramics do you find so compelling?
I appreciate the limitlessness of the material; it can be shaped into any form I can think of. I also like how difficult clay is. I have never felt like a master. I always feel like I can barely pull off making half of my objects and sometimes I out right fail.
Is there a common thread that exists throughout your work?
I am often thinking about power structures and human fallibility.
There seems to be a psychological component to your work in its uncanniness, can you speak to this?
For something to be uncanny it is familiar but strange. We see ourselves reflected but that reflection is uncomfortable. I strive to make objects that are relatable, but also reflect aspects of ourselves that we can recognize and yet not be entirely comfortable owning.
What’s next for you? What are you excited for?
I have a two-person show opening this fall that will allow me to work with two of my closest female friends. I am super excited to be a part of a project with women supporting women.
At the end of every interview, we like to ask the artist to recommend a friend whose work you love for us to interview next. Who would you suggest?
Sharon Madanes, she is a badass painter, a new Mom and in Medical School!