Waller Gallery

mad rad soft

July 13, 2019 - August 31, 2019

The exhibition "mad rad soft" is an opportunity for the community to celebrate femme-ness. Adding -ness to the end of a word is to define its quality or state of being. The artists on view express a state of femme-ness or femininity that will guide the viewer through language that may be new to them. The exhibition, curated by Joy Davis, features the works of Ada Pinkston, Ana Teixeira, Darius Johnson, Desmond Beach, Elana Casey, and Sienna Kwami. The artists on view will celebrate and honor the femme qualities of the human form and the human condition. Artwork on view illustrates different perspectives of the femme identity and forms as seen in nature, history, and their varied mediums.


Mad rad soft is a a group exhibition about the many ways femme-ness can be radical. Often we are told that softness is a bad quality, or a quality that can only be harnessed by those identifying as women. This exhibition is the antithesis of that idea. Multiple mediums, including video, paintings, and sculpture, will mix and match to create a new narrative for viewers about the engaging potential of femme-ness. The Baltimore community will have opportunities to engage with the artists through programming and Waller Gallery’s first exhibition catalogue.

Artist Bios

Ada Pinkston (b. New York) is a multimedia artist, educator, and cultural organizer living and working in Washington DC, where she is a fellow at the Halcyon Arts Lab. Her art explores the intersection of imagined histories and sociopolitical realities on our bodies, using monoprint, performance, video, and collage. Inter-subjective exchanges are the primary substrate of her work. Over the years, her work has been featured at a variety of spaces, including The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Walters Art Museum, The Peale Museum, Transmodern Performance Festival, P.S.1, The New Museum, Light City Baltimore, and the streets of Berlin. She is a Baker Artist award semifinalist (2016); a recipient of an Andy Warhol Foundation Grit Fund Grant in Visual Arts, administered by The Contemporary (2017); and the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation’s Ruby’s Project Grant in Visual Arts in (2017). She is a co-founder of the LabBodies Performance Art Laboratory in Baltimore, Maryland.

Asha Elana Casey (b. April 30, 1994) is a contemporary painter, mixed media artist, and arts  educator. She began her artistic training at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC. Casey is a graduate of the Corcoran School of Art and Design at George Washington University and an Anderson’s Ranch residency recipient. She currently lives and works in DC.

Darius Johnson is a genderqueer photographer from Baltimore MD. They recently graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Philosophy and are currently a medical student at Johns Hopkins. Johnson attempts to capture the diversity of queer/genderqueer people of color by photographing them in intimate settings. Most of their work reckons with stereotypes of Blackness and queerness along with the relationship between body and gender representation. Portraiture photography is a passion that Johnson developed recently to represent the Black and Brown queer body with a refreshing comfort that creates a space of mutual understanding and appreciation for any viewer, even those most unfamiliar with the community at hand.

Desmond Beach is a Washington, DC based artist and educator. Desmond is an interdisciplinary artist born in Baltimore, Maryland. He is a project artist, meaning that his work takes its point of departure from specific problems or tragedies. He earned his MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art's Rinehart School of Sculpture as well as his BFA from MICA. He has been a Visiting Lecturer/ Artist at institutions such as Coppin State University and Howard County Community College. Desmond has been a Summer Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, Artist-in-Residence at the Women Housing Correlation in Baltimore, MD, Summer Fellow at Skidmore College, and Artist-in-Residence at Pyramid Atlantic in Silver Spring, MD. He was MICA’s 2004 Joan Mitchell MFA Award Nominee.

Sienna Kwami is an artist living and working in Baltimore, Maryland. She is originally from Boston, Massachusetts. She has been alive for 20 years and was born to haitian and ghanaian parents. She attends school at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). At MICA, she majors in fiber, minors in humanistic studies, and concentrates in curatorial practice. Her practice ranges from fine art objects, sounds, essays, design, and cooking. Sienna Kwami is relational humanist. she is a womanist. She is a Cancer sun, Leo moon, and Taurus rising.