Curator Maria Nicola Mathioudakis has been getting a lot of questions lately about the name of her new series of art shows at Bankers Hill space Helmuth Projects. Lovingly dubbed IUD: A Place You Think About, the series will feature nearly a dozen up-and-coming female artists over the span of four weeks, but she's more than aware that the title might make some people think of something a little more personal.
"I've had a lot of people ask me about it, but it's supposed to be speaking more to this really intimate thing that you carry around with you and that's concealed inside you," says Mathioudakis, referring to the intrauterine device, a female contraceptive that is inserted into the uterus. "It's about the power of creation. The uterus is this thing that creates, but you also have the choice to not create."
Mathioudakis has assembled quite a cast of creators. The first show opens Saturday, Feb. 6, at 6 p.m. and features local artist Siera Hyte and New York-based Diamond Stingily. That show will be collaborative, as will the Feb. 13 opening featuring artists Salomeya Sobko and Dom Jones and Famo Musa, an artist originally from Kenya who now lives in City Heights. The Feb. 20 show will include works from Luisa Luisa Martinez, Chulaface and Eva de Leon, and the closing show on Feb. 27 will showcase work from Kim Schreiber, Ellen Schafer and Rebecca Maria Goldschmidt respectively.
"They're all 30 or under, and they're all making work about their family, their lives and sometimes even politics, so it'll be a very interesting contrast," says Mathioudakis.
Mathioudakis was an ethnic studies student at UC San Diego before becoming actively involved in performance art. She is more than aware that opening four art shows in four weeks is a bold if not befuddling undertaking, but she's confident the shows will make a clear and decisive impact.
"It's kind of crazy for everyone, but we're excited enough about it that we decided to commit to it," says Mathioudakis. "I want it to be a true collaborative effort. I can be the one pushing for all these ladies to come together, but it's really about the kind of energy that's inspired by bringing all of them together and having a conversation."