Thoughts and comments typed onto pink, squared sheets of paper sit pinned alongside their companion drawings on three walls in the Whipple Fine Arts building. These pink sheets of paper share an anonymous Tumblr artist’s and her followers’ struggles, feelings and even secrets as they search together for comfort through art.
Throughout this spring term, from April 3 to May 1, The Art Gallery at UCC is displaying art work from Ambivalently Yours, the anonymous Tumblr artist, that is eponymously titled, “Ambivalently Yours: as seen on Tumblr.” The show will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as well as during events held in the Centerstage Theatre.
The Tumblr page has been run anonymously through the online persona of the artist behind the drawings since 2011. “I kind of like the idea of letting Ambivalently Yours be less specifically about me and more about the ideas behind the work. I also feel that my online anonymity prevents me from censoring myself too much when sharing my stories and opinions,” the anonymous artist commented in an interview from the website KILORAN.
The Art Gallery has chosen a simple design to showcase the Ambivalently Yours illustrations as well as a digital kiosk to leave comments, zines and animations in this term’s exhibition.
“ ‘Ambivalently Yours’ work was selected for exhibition because of the compelling imagery and robust content,” Renee Couture, assistant professor of Art, said.
One commenter on social media described the Ambivalently Yours art style as quirky and organic. Ambivalently later responded that she once believed art strictly followed a sophisticated definition, not “scribbly little pink drawings that can seem so trite and childish.” However simple her illustrations may be, they continue to impact many as evidenced by her online, diverse followers.
From an electronic display to actual paper, the Ambivalently Yours illustrations capture depth and aptitude in discussing feminism, DIY girl culture and mainstream media culture.
“Seeing the actual drawings of Ambivalently Yours (as opposed to on a screen), we can really see the drawing process, from the actual size of the drawings to the use of cheap ball point pens, color pencils, markers, and watercolors. We might start to think a little differently about the time involved in drawing all the responses to questions and comments,” Couture said.
Ambivalently Yours can easily be seen as more than art. It has become an online community of empathy and expression, albeit that expression is flavored in ambivalence. The contrast to Facebook’s communication style of narcissistic assurance is notable.
“Art is a form of communication that hopefully helps people think more critically and notice their own world in a new way. This particular work places a spot light on the experiences many people face. The exhibit can help begin conversations about challenging topics. It can even teach us to have greater compassion toward others or recognize that we are not alone,” Couture said.
“Ambivalently Yours’ work was selected for exhibition because of the compelling imagery and robust content” —Renee Couture, UCC Assistant Professor of Art