SWIPE: Abstract Adventures with Dating Apps
New work by Laurel Justice
Exhibit opening: May 5th, 5-9pm
On display through May 26th
In spring of 2020, I found myself single after 32 years of marriage, living alone in a small town located in the most remote county of the lower 48 states, during a pandemic.
Lonely doesn't begin to describe it.
I have a lifetime of beautiful friendships with women and was slowly making new friends in town. However, I noticed that I did not have ease in conversations with men, except for a handful of artist/writer friends who felt like brothers to me. I knew that I would like to partner again someday, but hadn't dated since I was 21. There was a lot of growing to do.
Enter dating apps.
I was 56 years of age that year, and in a stroke of whimsy, I set an intention to go on 56 dates with 56 different men and journal about each one. A date, by definition during a pandemic, had to be loosely defined as a 1-hour conversation, regardless of whether it was over coffee, a hike or Zoom.
This show is a collection of abstracts (and one love poem) made in response to that very vulnerable and humbling social experiment, which as it turns out, was an exploration in what it means to date oneself. To learn all over again how to love what is lovable about myself; to accept with grace what isn't. It was my ambitious hope to become unapologetically me in a dating culture that asks a lot of its women; and, bonus, maybe I'd perhaps become rejection- proof in the process?
The jury is still out on the latter, and I keep practicing.
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE GOOD MEN OUT THERE WHO HAVE TAUGHT ME SO MUCH:Henry from Salida
Chip from Durango
Luis from Boulder
Jon from Ft. Collins
Harry from Grand Junction
AND TO THE REST:
No, I will not lose weight for you.
No, I will not give you a blow job because you repaired my refrigerator.
No, I will not date you while you figure out what you want to do with your marriage.
No, I will not have phone sex with you.
No, I will not debate the impact of white male patriarchy with you if you do not already know. No, I will not sign an NDA to date you. (Aspen men...I swear.)
No, I will not, under any uncertain circumstances, listen to your boomer-mansplaining about...
About the Artist:
Laurel Justice is a multi-hyphenate working from her studio in downtown Denver as an artist--psychotherapist--transformational life coach--retreat curator--consultant to heart- centered organizations seeking to refresh their ecosystems of influence through creativity. She has served numerous arts boards including the Public Art Commission of the Pikes Peak Region, Pikes Peak Arts Council, Ormao Dance Company, Lake City Arts, and the Memorial Hospital Arts Committee.
A therapist for 20+ years, Laurel has led countless workshops, retreats and group experiences using art, writing, dance and drama. She is passionate about creativity as being the most effective estuary for healing, growth and transforming ourselves for the greater good.
She is the founder of SoulHaven Collective which provides save spaces of retreat, healing and rejuvenation in nature for BIPOC artists. SoulHaven is a non-profit organization that centers the voices, stories, experiences and thriving of creators of color in welcoming havens that replenish the human soul.
Her abstract art is inspired by poetry/literature, internal human landscapes, as well as the visible outdoor landscape, while also exploring the tension between constraint/ release and limitation/freedom. She has exhibited her work throughout the Pikes Peak Region and beyond, and guest teaches in schools, galleries, and community arts centers.