Pleasure & Protest art exhibition coming to GOCA

The Galleries of Contemporary Art (GOCA) are pleased to present “Pleasure & Protest,” a group exhibition featuring the work Jackie Gendel, Lovie Olivia, Yana Payusova, Alexis Pye and Keer Tanchak, January 25 – March 16, 2024, at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery at the Ent Center for the Arts. The guest curator, Sara-Jayne Parsons, will give a lecture on Wednesday, January 24, as part of the Visiting Artists and Critics Series. The opening reception is on Thursday, January 25. The exhibition and lecture are free and open to the public.

Conceptual threads connecting these five artists center on exploring or re-situating domestic craft and decorative art practices in relation to painting the figure. They employ strategies of pattern, gesture, and repetition through a range of materials and methods including watercolor, fresco-secco, wallpaper, clay, and embroidery. Their works celebrate handwork and revel in the pleasures of tactile surfaces, decoration, and ornamentation.

Over forty years on from the groundbreaking Pattern and Decoration art movement, works by these five artists prompt fresh discussion about the renewed value of craft in contemporary art practices. Collectively their work protests against hierarchies in subject and material, and their concerns in paint reflect current feminist discourse about cultural identity, representation, and making.

Pleasure & Protest is curated by Sara-Jayne Parsons and organized by The Art Galleries at TCU with assistance from Inman Gallery, Houston, TX and SOCO Gallery, Charlotte, NC. Wallpaper designed by Jackie Gendel is provided by Peg Norriss and Schumacher & Co.

Jackie Gendel’s repetitive use of forms is both narrative and decorative. The sequencing found in her small watercolor paintings shows women in action, moving through the world with a fluid, dynamic energy in the process of becoming. These rhythmic forms echo textile designs and reference historic painters such as Sonia Delaunay, Jane Kaufman, or Joyce Kozloff. Installed on wallpaper designed by Gendel, the paintings invite conversation with practices found in interior design and home decoration.

For Lovie Olivia, a preoccupation with domestic interiors involves intersectional investigation of narratives, from examining Southern hospitality to revealing histories of queer women of color. She creates unique surfaces through repeated layering of plaster and pigments in her fresco-secco paintings. Simultaneously fragile and fortified, the results of Olivia’s excavations and mark-making suggest a material metaphor of how experiences overlap and identities are formed.

Yana Payusova’s work reflects both her cultural heritage and training in traditional Russian realist painting, and it blends the styles and symbols of folk art, icons, graphic posters, illustration, and comics. The mundane activities depicted on her ceramic tiles or vessels, such as women doing the washing up or sitting under the hairdryer at the salon, are countered by gold luster highlights. Through this gesture, Payusova’s ordinary heroines become mythical protagonists in painted three-dimensional form.

Alexis Pye challenges traditions in portraiture to express the Black body outside of social constructs. She explores pastoral representations of the figure in gardens or parks and integrates mixed media within painting in the form of embroidery or punch-stitch needlework. By eschewing stereotypically urban depictions of the Black body and instead embracing landscapes of pleasure and relaxation that she has experienced herself, Pye attempts to evoke feelings of playfulness, wonder and joy in blackness.

Populating the space between figuration and abstraction, the women in Keer Tanchak’s paintings often appear ambiguous or out of reach. From fashion models and movie stars to royalty, her appropriated portrait subjects inhabit an iconic space that exudes luxury and pleasure. Tanchak’s reversal of the male gaze reveals a staging or branding of women’s identity through fashion and entertainment; from capturing exuberantly wallpapered interiors in a Catherine Deneuve movie to showcasing the millinery range of Princess Diana.

About the guest curator

Dr. Sara-Jayne Parsons is the Director and Curator of the Art Galleries at TCU (Texas Christian University) in Fort Worth, Texas. She promotes the professional development of students and local artists through programming in Moudy Gallery and drives the international curatorial vision of TCU’s satellite space, Fort Worth Contemporary Arts. Her curatorial practice is informed by working in close collaboration with artists to produce new artworks through commissions, exhibitions, and artist residencies.

About the artists

Born in Houston, Jackie Gendel received a BA from Washington University in St. Louis, and an MFA from Yale University. Her work has been included in numeroussolo and group exhibitions including in New York city galleries Thomas Erben Gallery, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, and Moti Hasson; Mixture Contemporary Art, Houston, TX; and Loyal Gallery, Malmö, Sweden. Her work is included in the collections of Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art Hartford, CT, and the Progressive Collection, Mayfield Village, OH. It has also been featured in publications such as Artforum, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Art in America, Hyperallergic, Modern Painters, and Art Papers. Gendel received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2007) and was artist-inresidence at the MacDowell Colony (2005). Gendel is an Associate Professor at Rhode Island School of Design.

Also born in Houston, Lovie Olivia’s work has been exhibited widely in Texas including at Art League Houston, Lawndale Art Center, Project Row Houses, Galveston Arts Center, Presa House, San Antonio, and the Wright Gallery at Texas A&M University. Her work has also been shown at Corridor Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; and ACRE Projects and Woman Made Gallery, both in Chicago, IL. Olivia received Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grants in 2009 and 2014. Her work is currently on display in Nashville, TN in Beauty as a Method, a solo exhibition at Tinney Contemporary, and in the groundbreaking group exhibition Multiplicity, Blackness in Contemporary American Collage at the Frist Art Museum.

Yana Payusova was born in Leningrad, USSR and she received an MFA in Interdisciplinary Media Arts Practices from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally including recent exhibitions at the Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis; Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston; Tucson Museum of Art; Conduit Gallery, Dallas; and, the New Taipei City Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taiwan. In 2021 Payusova was artist-in-residence at the Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center, Denmark, as well as a Visiting Artist at the Anderson Ranch Art Center, Snowmass. She recently completed a commissioned installation for Real Unreal, Meow Wolf’s fourth permanent exhibit, in Grapevine, Texas. Payusova is an Assistant Professor of Practice and FYE Program Chair at the School of Art, University of Arizona in Tucson.

Born in Detroit, Alexis Pye received her BFA in painting from the University of Houston. She was a Summer Studios Resident at Project Row Houses, Houston in 2018, and in the following year her work was exhibited in a group show of young artists at the David Shelton Gallery, Houston. Pye received the Juror’s Choice Prize for the 20th Annual Citywide African American Artists Exhibition at Texas Southern University in 2019. She has shown with Inman Gallery, Houston since 2020 and was a Round 16 Lawndale Artist Studio Program Participant for the 2022- 2023 season. In the summer of 2023 Pye completed an artist residency at the Asia Society, Houston, as part of the Artists on Site program.

Canadian artist Keer Tanchak received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA with distinction from Concordia University in Montreal. She has exhibited extensively in the US and internationally with shows in Canada, the UK and Mexico. Solo exhibitions in the last five years include JDJ, New York, NY; The Old Jail Art Center, Albany, TX; 12.26, Dallas, TX; Best Western, Santa Fe, NM; Conduit Gallery, Dallas, TX; and Dallas Contemporary. Her work was also included in the Texas Biennial in 2017. Tanchak was the recipient of Artist Fellowship Award from the Illinois Arts Council in 2009 and the Brucebo Residency in Visby, Sweden in 2003. Tanchak currently lives and works in Dallas, TX, where she is represented by 12.26.

About UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art (GOCA)

GOCA is a regional hub of contemporary art, culture, and conversation. Independently producing exhibitions and programs through a collaborative approach with artists of national, international, and regional significance, GOCA engages UCCS and the greater community in dialogue around contemporary culture. GOCA is a contemporary arts organization with a variety of spaces – the flagship Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery at the Ent Center for the Arts, the GOCA Project Space, and the Art WithOut Limits Public Sculpture Program on the grounds of the Ent Center for the Arts at UCCS. For more information, visit

About the Ent Center for the Arts

This first-class arts facility, located on the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus serves the community as a hub for the arts and an inspiration in academics. The vision for the facility was and is to foster a creative environment to house arts that will serve the Pikes Peak region, allowing artists to inspire and amplify one another rather than compete against one another. Art brings together diverse peoples and ideas in ways no other discipline can, and the Ent Center will be a pillar of the arts community within Colorado Springs.