Soft Bodies in the Shimmering Mirage: David Nasca & Ava Wanbli

Opening Friday, February 10th 5–9pm

David Nasca’s sculptures, made through digital modeling and myriad casting and mold making processes, reference the Burgess Shale. This fossil bed located in Yoho National Park in British Columbia, preserves the now extinct soft-bodied organisms of the Cambrian explosion, often called the biological big bang, when life was experimenting with new forms. In digitally reanimating and refossilizing these creatures in new materials, Nasca explores how the ephemeral (life) settles into the archival (stone); posits the fossil formation process as analogous to the casting studio process; interprets how queer communities (both past and present) adapt, fade, and are preserved; and questions evolution as a force primarily driven by sexual reproduction and natural selection.

In Ava Wanbli’s work, there is a construction of self through the digital transmission and archiving within landscapes of erotic imagery, objectification, and transcendence of trans bodies. By augmenting conditions of authorship and intimacy, she challenges the spectacle of eroticism that permeates the trans image within multiple formats of digital media. Ava combines performance, video games, virtual reality, videos, and sculptures to manifest a shimmering image of herself that is ever changing and regenerating through self transcendence.

David Nasca is a visual artist and educator. He studied at Deep Springs College (2008), the University of Chicago (BA 2012) and Cornell University (MFA 2022). His work explores the natural world and draws upon the animal kingdom for examining queerness. He has exhibited in the US and abroad and has participated in residencies at ACRE (WI), The Corning Museum of Glass (NY), SOMA Mexico (CDMX), and The Banff Centre for The Arts (AB, Canada).

Ava Wanbli(b.1989) is a Chicago based new media performance artist. She uses video, performance, 3D scanning, sculpture, and game engines to reconstruct dynamics of spectacle and intimacy through eroticized mediation of the body. She is an alumni of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Department and currently lives and works in Chicago.