About Arika von Edler
Arika's figurative oil paintings and textile pieces investigate female sexuality, its historical and contemporary suppression, and its subsequent exploitation. Some of the work is pure oil paint, some pure fiber, and occasionally a mixed-media collaboration of the two. Her work focuses on female sexuality in a country where women’s reproductive healthcare is controversial.
Her oil paintings borrow figures from the Sistine Chapel, by bringing Renaissance angels into the contemporary. Through their performance of present-day struggles, they seek to invert classical notions of femininity. The work is both reflective of our culture's attitude, and by drawing on her own experiences it is simultaneously diaristic. The figures probe questions about abortions, slut-shaming, rape, maternity, birth control, queerness in relation to femininity, and overall reproductive feminism.
The figures design their future using traditional women’s textile to demonstrate the control they have over the reproductive aspect of their own bodies. The incorporation of textile is both an homage to and a subversion of traditional women’s work, but due to its soft and strong duality it is representative of femininity itself. The canvas has long been the domain for men to flex their artistic genius, and by embroidering a confrontational female figure into it, the work seeks to decolonize and a traditionally gendered space. The textile/embroidery is intended to be emblematic of unravelling. Personal unravelling, political unravelling, gender unravelling.
Arika lives and works in San Francisco, California with her husband, Sebastiaan de With and their two cats.