(Columbia, SC) Tapp's Arts Center is pleased to announce it's next exhibition, Weightless, Works by Ansley Adams will open November 1st at 6pm at 1644 Main Street, Columbia SC, 29201. Featuring paintings on canvas and silk, Adams presents a visual metaphor of female empowerment and transcendence.
"You’re Fat!” These words were hurled at me for the first time when I was nine years old. Could the boy sitting across from me at church possibly have known the weight those words would have on me? Could the countless other people who called me “fat” when I was growing up ever have known the way these words would weigh me down? Before I was even overweight, the word “fat” became a part of my identity. This became a self-fulfilling prophecy as I created the world for myself that I thought I deserved. I began to hate my body and myself, to feel shame and embarrassment. For decades, I tore myself down, dabbled with unhealthy behaviors in bouts of desperation, and repeated cycles of extreme weight loss followed by extreme weight gain.
By the end of 2015, I was over three years out of graduate school (USC) and I was struggling to make work that was meaningful. I knew that I was not honestly tackling the real issues I struggled with, and I decided then that, despite my fears, I would start making work about body image. My first painting in this series, “New Beginnings,” became the work that pulled me from this artistic slump and gave me an unyielding passion for my work. It also began to heal my perception of self, teaching me as I painted that the women I depicted ARE beautiful. Furthermore, they are not beautiful despite their weight, but rather their weight is part of what makes them beautiful.
As I worked on this series, I began to release the negative self-identity of “fat” and embrace, instead, identities of “beautiful,” “strong,” and “fearless.” More and more, I released the shame and self-hate that was weighing me down more than any extra lbs ever had. Through creating this series and sharing its development on social media, I found community and support. I found women who are strong and confident in their skin, women who are not weighed down by their bodies but who instead are using their weight as a platform to incite change and give hope to others. I know now that women are fat OR skinny, young OR old, scarred OR smooth... AND we are beautiful, AND we are strong, AND we are powerful, AND we are fearless. We are WEIGHTLESS.
Ansley Adams seeks to embrace a positive awareness of self through honest exploration and expression. She explores perceptions of body image through large-scale figurative paintings. Ansley Adams shows and sells her work internationally and nationally. She received her MFA in Painting and Drawing from The University of South Carolina and her BA in Art Education from Wingate University. Ansley Adams is the Director of Fine Arts at South Piedmont Community College, in North Carolina.
Support for this project is provided by the Arts Council of York County Small Grants Program, the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC, and the SC Arts Commission, which received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tapp’s Arts Center is giant artistic laboratory focused on community engagement. We encourage artistic agency through exhibitions, cultural events, workshops, classes, and studios to help Columbia create, learn and grow.