Austin (2021) by Aili Schmeltz.

A two-person exhibition opening April 2 at BoxoPROJECTS in Joshua Tree demonstrates how artists Edie Fake and Aili Schmeltz use abstraction to express ideas about gender issues, hierarchy, and power. Experiments in Transformation, which continues through May 1, “asks viewers to consider the arbitrary nature of boundaries and the possibility of lived experiences that resist being constrained,” says BoxoPROJECTS director Bernard Leibov, who co-curated the exhibition with Daniell Cornell, curator emeritus at Palm Springs Art Museum.

The artists created the works in the exhibition during a long period of pandemic isolation, allowing them time and space “to reconsider cultural clichés, both resisting them and transforming them into new possibilities,” Cornell says. “Edie Fake’s high-keyed abstractions are simultaneously figurative and abstract, combining recognizable household objects and dynamic geometries. Aili Schmeltz’s thread-based paintings are largely monochromatic, abstract patterns of vibrating intensity that serve as analogs for lives shaped by gender issues.”


Probiotics (2022) by Edie Fake.

Fake was born in Chicagoland in 1980 and received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2002. His work has evolved from his acclaimed Memory Palaces series — reimagined façades of urban lesbian bars and gay nightclubs — to a new feeling of vulnerability due to changes in the U.S. social and political climates. The work blurs lines between architecture, body and biological elements with motifs that seem to be both decorative and protective. Architectural and biological components are used as visual metaphors for the ways in which definition and validation elude trans identities.

Schmeltz, who earned her MFA from the University of Arizona and teaches at Otis College of Art and Design, splits her time in between Los Angeles and Joshua Tree. Her research-based process integrates utopian ideologies into paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Reflecting on modernism and obsessively engaging with architectural forms, she manipulates and reduces these ideas and objects to their simplest form.

Experiments in Transformation opens April 2 with a reception from 2 to 5 p.m. It continues through May 1 on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. or by appointment. BoxoPROJECTS is located at 62732 Sullivan Road in Joshua Tree.