Shelby Head Exhibition: Am I that Name?

The exhibition features sculpture, painting, mixed media, video and sound installation on the complex and fluid nature of gender and identity in an often discriminatory, binary world. This work is in part a visual representation of the artist’s investigation into Queer theory and their ideas of “self/selves.”

It has been such an exciting opportunity for the Melton Gallery to share Shelby Head’s work with the University of Central Oklahoma. Not only is “Am I that Name?” visually and auditorily captivating, it is also rich in thoughtful and provoking ideas which challenge the viewers concepts of queerness and self. It is so essential to showcase work like Head’s, that not only pushes the boundaries of visual fine art but also creates dialogue around topics that are important to our growth as a society.

– Carrie Kouts, Curator of the Melton Gallery

  • Opening Reception: Thursday, 09/29/22 from 5-7:30 PM
  • On View: 09/22-11/10/22

Am I that Name? is an artistic and educational exhibition that is a meeting point of art, politics, and truth. The exhibition engages a diverse audience in subject matter that is both controversial and personal, built on my commitment to use art as a source of potential change by generating public discourse on critical issues. I seek truth through art in order to understand myself in a given historical moment. I believe art can be used as a powerful tool to present truth as an essential form of self-awareness.

The collection challenges the normative hierarchical power structure of gender and sexuality through pictogram-inspired figurative constructions and the queer use of common materials and objects such as industrial equipment, hardware, stage sets and decorative wallpaper. Sculpture, found objects, video and works on paper move with the subject of queer, personal identity and emotion. The project aims to educate rather than define by proposing new ways of thinking about sex, gender, and social constructs. The exhibition offers a broader understanding that Queer is a fundamental part of being.

My research into queer theory began four years ago when my youngest daughter came out as transgender. An unintended consequence of this work was an exploration of my gender identity. This collection marks the beginning of owning my gender Queerness. The deeper I looked into Queer theory, the more I understood to define Queer is to kill it. Elasticity is one of its inherent characteristics; therefore, this body of work is counter-intuitive, even futile, in my attempt to understand Queerness through form, shape, language and video.

The work must then become a collection of possibilities.

-Shelby Head

Melton Gallery Showing Works by Shelby Head

Artwork by Shelby Head

Artwork by Shelby Head

Artwork by Shelby Head

Shelby Head during Artist talk

Artist Talk Audience Members