Bio: Andrea Pérez Bessin (b. San Juan, Puerto Rico) is an artist and Studio Art MFA candidate at the University of Connecticut. Their work focuses on syncretic amalgams and fictitious figures of devotion as a way to speak about the instability of gender through the fragmentation of the body. They received their BFA in Studio Art from Rhode Island College and a BA in Biology from Brown University. Andrea currently lives and works in Newport, RI. Their work has most recently been shown in Newport Art Museum’s group show Digital Breath.
Artist Statement: Reverence, ritual, and the queer body as holy are the common threads that run through these works. My work aims to create a visual language around queer and non-binary bodies through syncretic explorations of science, alchemy, Christian iconography, queerness, my immediate surroundings, and influences derived from Puerto Rican culture. Within these fields, I often find synchronicities in elements that are at times contradictory. Much of my process involves translating these elements as shapes and symbols that merge with the figure to synthesize fictitious devotional images. These anthropomorphic amalgams speak to the instability of gender itself while attempting to resist essentialist notions of queerness. My current research focuses on the relic, the milagro or ex-voto, and the deterioration that happens through time to cement these fictitious symbols in an imagined past and establish a legacy in the future. The work amounts to an iconography forged from an imaginary mythos that centers queerness and cherished elements from systems of worship left behind. The recurring creation of iconography becomes an act of reclamation and reinvention of spiritual tendencies that exist within me.