Rhea Ewing is a Madison-based artist and an alumnus of UW-Baraboo/Sauk and UW-Madison. A transplant to the Midwest, Rhea calls Wisconsin “the first place that felt like home” and tries to capture that sense of place in their work. Rhea also calls upon the personal and political themes of living with a queer identity in the Midwest, finding spiritual connections to the natural world, and building safe spaces for all people. The value of art, by their reasoning, is the ability to create connections, question assumptions, and inspire others to do the same.
Human beings like to make connections. I believe we are mythmakers, storytellers, masters of seeing the similar.
The Seven Strengths series is an exploration of seven concepts essential to my survival as a queer person in modern society. The series is a conversation between myself and the natural world as I examine different ways of coexisting and thriving under pressure. From the way tidal creatures adapt to a constantly changing environment to the surprising family lives of insects, I draw connections between my own tools for survival and the evolutionary adaptations of plants and animals.
Viewers are invited to contemplate their own adaptations, strengths, and communities through meditative coloring pages and creative prompts left throughout the space. These conversations are vital in a time when both the natural world and many marginalized identities are threatened.