Keioui Keijaun Thomas

Participating Artists

C Alex Clark
Edgar Fabián Frías
Apolo Gomez
Karsen (Karen) Heagle
Loba Huaman
Grace Rosario Perkins
Keioui Keijaun Thomas
Chris E. Vargas

Exhibition Dates

June 23 – September 10, 2023
Muñoz Waxman Gallery

Opening Reception: June 23, 5-8pm
CCA Member’s Preview: June 23, 4-5pm

The Center for Contemporary Arts of Santa Fe presents Queer Magic: Practices in Spirituality, Power, and Transformation, a new group exhibition featuring eight LGBTQ+ identifying artists examining themes and concepts concerning ritual, healing, and spirituality while working in technology, sculpture, archival research, film, painting, and installation.

The artists enact an interdependent relationship between their personal spirituality and artistic practice through a variety of alternative modalities including but not limited to astrology, brujería, witchcraft, sympathetic magic, and ancestral veneration. Through this process and its transformative nature, the artists aim to heal their communities, land, and themselves to create a more just, equitable, safe, and beautiful world.

Curated by Kiersten Fellrath, this exhibition will be on view June 23–September 10, 2023, in CCA’s Muñoz Waxman Gallery. Accompanying this exhibition will be an installation of works derived from an open call to New Mexico-based LGBTQ+ artists, A Spell for Community.

Image: Keioui Keijaun Thomas, Come Hell or High Femmes: Act 2. The Last Trans Femmes on Earth: Dripping Doll Energy, 2021, video installation

C ALEX CLARK (born 1989, Witchita, Kansas) C currently resides in Santa Fe, NM. They graduated with a BFA in Photography from Santa Fe University of Art and Design (2014) and completed their MFA in the Low-Residency program at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2018). They currently work as an assistant and collaborator with August Muth—a world-renowned hologram artist—and as the Assistant to the Directors for Parallel Studios—which produces CURRENTS, an annual new media art festival.

EDGAR FABIÁN FRÍAS (born 1983, Los Angeles) works in installation, photography, video art, sound, sculpture, printed textiles, GIFs, performance, social practice, and community organizing, among other forms. Frías is Wixárika and their family is from Mexico, though they have lived in the United States for most of their life. Their art addresses historical legacies and acts of resistance, resiliency, and radical imagination within the context of Indigenous Futurism, spirituality, play, pedagogy, animism, and queer aesthetics. Weaving together the traditional and ancestral with the contemporaneous and emergent. Born in East Los Angeles in 1983, Frías received dual BA degrees in Psychology and Studio Art from UC, Riverside. In 2013, they received an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, with an emphasis on Interpersonal Neurobiology and Somatic Psychotherapy. Frías received their MFA in Art Practice from UC Berkeley in 2022.

Their work has been exhibited internationally, including the Vincent Price Art Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Oregon Contemporary, MOCA Jacksonville, Project Space Festival Juárez, and ArtBo, among others. Their work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Taschen, Bustle, Los Angeles Times, Slate, CVLT Nation, Terremoto, Hyperallergic, and other publications.

APOLO GOMEZ (he/him/they/them) was born in Austin, Texas, and is a queer Chicanx visual artist based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. After a bout with cancer, he picked up his first camera and started documenting his friends and lovers. Through photography and installation, his interdisciplinary practice explores the complex multiplicity of personhood, queerness, desire, and his Latinx identity. His work has been exhibited at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Denver, CO; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV; and the National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum, Albuquerque, NM. He is represented by Kouri + Corrao Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, and is currently working as a Studio Assistant for Judy Chicago and Donald Woodman.

KARSEN (KAREN) HEAGLE (born 1967, Wisconsin) s a visual artist who works primarily in painting and drawing. Her work reflects autobiographical symbolism, thematically focused on memento mori, feminism, sexuality, and queer identity. Often with wildlife subjects metaphorically depicting states of ecstasy and transformation, while also acting out predation suggesting a commentary on the brutality of contemporary culture. The charged colors in the works divert the potentially gratuitous imagery. Heagle’s work is in notable collections including the Contemporary Drawing Collection at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She has exhibited widely in New York City, including most recently at Sargent’s Daughters, while also participating in many group exhibitions. She holds an MFA from Pratt Institute, and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

LOBA HUAMAN (Loba/they) is a Queer educator, herbalist, activist and consultant. Their work encompasses Andina identity, Reproductive Justice, doula work and plant connections. Loba is currently based in Albuquerque, New Mexico but is constantly traveling for work and research all over the US (Turtle Island) and Latin America (Abya Yala).They have facilitated over a hundred trainings and skill shares in universities and community groups on herbalism, plant relations, social justice, healing justice and autonomous health. Loba is invested on disseminating information with the hope that self-knowledge and (re) cognition of abuelita knowledge will create a future where we can depend on ourselves and communities.

GRACE ROSARIO PERKINS (born 1986, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Diné/Akimel O’odham) Based in Albuquerque but having spent most of her life moving between city centers, the Navajo Nation, and the Gila River Indian Community, Grace Rosario is interested in using maximal painting to create works that are imbued with cultural and autobiographical metaphor. Though a self taught painter, Grace considers her time as an educator her “art school;” working alongside adults with disabilities, elders in hospice, youth, as well as teaching Painting and Drawing courses at the university level.

KEIOUI KEIJAUN THOMAS born 1989, Florida) is based in Brooklyn, New York. She earned her MA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BFA with honors from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Thomas is the inaugural winner of the Queer | Art 2020 Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists and a 2018 Franklin Furnace Fund recipient.

CHRIS E. VARGAS (born 1978, Los Angeles) is a video maker & interdisciplinary artist currently based in Bellingham, WA whose work deploys humor and performance in conjunction with mainstream idioms to explore the complex ways that queer and trans people negotiate spaces for themselves within historical & institutional memory and popular culture. He earned his MFA in the department of Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011 and his BA in the Film & Digital Media department from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2006. He is a recipient of a 2016 Creative Capital

award and a 2020 John S. Guggenheim fellowship. 

From 2008-2013, he made, in collaboration with Greg Youmans, the web-based trans/cisgender sitcom Falling In Love… with Chris and Greg. Episodes of the series have screened at numerous film festivals and art venues, including MIX NYC, SF Camerawork, and the Tate Modern. With Eric Stanley, Vargas co-directed the movie Homotopia (2006) and its feature-length sequel Criminal Queers (2015) which have been screened at Palais de Tokyo, LACE, Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow, and the New Museum among other venues. Vargas is also the Executive Director of MOTHA, the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art, a critical and conceptual arts and hirstory institution highlighting the contributions of trans art to the cultural and political landscape.

About the Curator

Kiersten Fellrath

Kiersten Fellrath is the Programs Coordinator at CCA, and is passionate about creating space and opportunities for emerging artists and their communities. She serves on the board of the Fire Island Artist Residency (FIAR). Her former role as Curator and Vice President of the JPMorgan Chase Art Collection included responsibilities in curatorial, acquisitions, education, programs and collection management.

She received her MFA in Contemporary Art from Christie’s Education, New York, but considers her time working with artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith to have been the most formative. She is of European (Scottish, Irish, Scandinavian) descent and lives in Nambe Pueblo, NM with her partner.