September 17, 2016 - October 22, 2016



September 17 – October 22, 2016

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 17, 6-8pm

Transformer launches our 15th Exhibition Season with Defy/Define, presenting the work of a select group of emerging visual artists exploring issues of identity through photography, video, and performance art. 

Featuring works by Ebtisam AbdulazizEli BarakJason Barnes for Noir Creative, Jo Ann BlockNakeya Brown, Hoesy Corona, Alexandra "Rex" DelafkaranKunj, and Renee ReganDefy/Define seeks to address intersectionality within struggles to have racial, ethnic, cultural, sexual, and gender identities understood & accepted.

"Transformer is proud to be launching our 15th Exhibition Season with work by artists who defy stereotypes and examine how we define ourselves in a time of tumultuous social and political change." - Victoria Reis, Executive & Artistic Director; Co-Founder, Transformer

Schedule of Events

Saturday, September 17, 6-8pm: Opening Reception & Black Dionysus, a performance by Jason Barnes for Noir Creative 

Saturday, October 1, 2pm: Nakeya Brown Artist Talk 

Saturday, October 1, 6-8pm: The Game of Who Wins the Most?!, a performance by Renee Regan

Wednesday, October 5 - Saturday, October 8, 6-8pm: incognitus, an ongoing performance by Kunj 

Saturday, October 8, 4:30pm: Jo Ann Block Artist Talk 

Saturday, October 15 , 7-8:45pm: Transformer, a performance by Hoesy Corona

Saturday, October 22, 6-8pm: It's Like You Get Me Honey, a performance by Alexandra "Rex" Delafkaran

Artist Bios:

Ebtisam Abdulaziz is a multidisciplinary artist, Curator and writer. Reflecting on her Bachelor’s Degree in Science & Mathematics, Abdulaziz incorporates her unique perspective on mathematics and the structures of systems to explore issues of identity and culture through installations, performance pieces and works on paper. Her works are evidence of a fascination with systemic ways to produce emotionally or intellectually meaningful forms of expression. Abdulaziz has exhibited as part of the Inaugural UAE and ADACH Pavilions at 53rd Venice Biennale, as well as at the 7th & 10th Sharjah Biennial; Languages of the Desert, the Kunst Museum, Bonn, Germany; Dubai Next, a collaboration between the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and Vitra Design Museum, Basel 2008; Arab Express, a group exhibition at The Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; 25 years of Arab Creativity, The Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; Inventing The World: The Artists as a Citizen, Benin Biennial 2012, Kora Centre, Benin.

Eli Barak was born in 1979 in Kfar Yona, Israel and lives and works in New York City. He received his BA in Fine Arts and Art Education from Hamidrasha School of Art in Israel; a graphic design certificate from New York University; and an MFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Barak’s work is layered with history, culture, and politics. Through the concept of assimilation, he investigates individual and cultural identity.

Jason Barnes for Noir Creative is a DC native who first made her name in Paris as a classically trained opera singer and artist. Since returning to the States, she has quickly transfixed DC’s art and nightlife communities and affixed herself as one of the most recognizable fashion icons in our nation’s capital. Although not a drag queen, Pussy Noir uses “gender-fuck” fashion to portray a woman on stage during her performances across Washington. Offstage, in her everyday life, Noir (known as Jason Barnes to his friends) lives a very male existence.

Nakeya Brown is an award-winning photographer who is known for exploring the complexities and politics of African American hair in her work. She was born in Santa Maria, California in 1988. She received her BA in Visual Arts and Journalism & Media Studies from Rutgers University. Her work has been exhibited at the McKenna Museum of African American Art, Woman Made Gallery, Vivid Solutions Gallery, and Mason Gross Gallery. Brown’s work has been reviewed by The Washington City Paper, African & Afro-Diasporan Art Talks, ForHarriet, and has been published by international publications, Hysteria and Elephant. She is a recipient of the Hortense May Boutell, Richard T. Evans, and Winifred Todd Farah endowments. She is currently pursuing her M.F.A at The George Washington University. Nakeya lives in Washington, D.C with her 3-year-old daughter, Mia.

Jo Ann Block's work comments on the complexities and ambiguities of queer identity. She is interested in the inherent plurality of identities and the impossibility of constructing an intelligible identity through time. Her projects investigate queer history, sexuality and identity as they are inscribed within historical and contemporary culture. 

Hoesy Corona (b.1986 Mexico, based in Baltimore, MD) is a multidisciplinary artist, independent curator and founding co-director of Labbodies performance art laboratory in Baltimore Maryland. Hoesy is an artist of change. He is Hoesy Corona and he is also Dr. H. Corona. His alter egos are part of his larger inquiry into who we are and how we construct ourselves and our identities. Corona’s unapologetically colorful, sculptural and performance based works have been deeply influenced by his queer immigrant experience in the United States. Additionally, formative encounters with racism, discrimination, xenophobia and otherness have shaped the ways in which Corona creatively interprets the contemporary world around him in new and compelling ways. 

Alexandra "Rex" Delafkaran is an interdisciplinary artist and dancer from San Francisco, California. After earning her BFA in Sculpture and Performance Art from the San Francisco Art Institute, she relocated to Washington, DC working in local galleries. Her work revolves around intimacy, sex and vulnerability and their relationship to utility, language and the body. She performs and exhibits her work along the coast, working out of Red Dirt Studios, and on curatorial projects of her own.

Kunj explores both cultural and sexual identity through performative ritual with a focus on hetero-normative dissuasion. Questioning and rebelling against institutional ideas of race, gender, and queerness – Kunj often creates work is that is impermanent, using ritual performance and structure to explore the notion of no-identity versus new-identity. He received his BA in Anthropology and Studio Art from the University of Maryland, with emphasis on physical culture, identity, and printmaking, and has performed at Grace Exhibition Space (NY), EMP Collective (MD), and The National Portrait Gallery (DC). 

Renee Regan strives for a connection with the audience by using familiarity and absurdity to comfortably break the status quo. Her performances revolve around a web of connected strings that pull in various ways on the certain dichotomies that surround us. The moments of intimacy vs. complacency, chaos vs. patterns, or personal identity vs. societal creation. A main focus of her performance involves a set of accessories for success or as she likes to call them “Successories”. Her alter ego, Rex Reginald the 4th Second, a creature from Planet Advivon, is able to liberate taboos as we succumb to our unsuspecting desires. The creature’s presence is unapologetically confrontational both psychologically and physically. This combined with the “Successories” can lead to boosts in positivity, purity, or power.


Image Credit: Nakeya Brown, Hair Portrait #2 (The Refutation of Good Hair)