Vanessa Conte at HESTER

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Artist: Vanessa Conte

Exhibition title: First Lessons: A Girl’s Tough Breaks

Venue: HESTER, New York, US

Date: September 9 – October 9, 2016

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and HESTER

Her gaze focused on a small spot on the sidewalk next to an empty pizza box, where hundreds of ants were piling onto a white, rotting bit of pepperoni. The tiny, shiny black bugs scrambled over one another, magnetically drawn toward their fatty prize. Andrea winced. Animals. Gross, she thought. She couldn’t take her eyes off the hungry, ruthless creatures.

“Are you here for tryouts?” came a high-pitched, familiar voice.

“Yeah,” Andrea replied, blinking away from the ant mob.

The seasoned player’s slow, sure-paced approach sent tickles up Andrea’s shorts, and she sensed, with a quickening pulse, the player’s primal perception of her fear. It was almost visible in wafting cartoon-like smoke, whirling tendrils of trepidation, that stoked the red-headed teammate to come closer while rolling a soccer ball from one foot to the other. Each tooth of her cleats tapped the ball as she deftly passed it from left to right—clickclickclick—tap— clickclickclick—tap—circling Andrea with feline grace.

“You’d better get those shoes on before coach gets here,” she warned.

The tickles surged and Andrea’s back stiffened as she reached for a sock. She inspected the thick flesh of each thigh to see if those ants had started to climb into her shorts. The player shot the ball at Andrea’s resting butt cheek—blap!

Andrea gasped and glared at the smiling redhead.

“He’s here,” she chirped.

Vanessa Conte (b. 1977, Yonkers, NY) lives and works in Glendale, CA. Her work has been exhibited at venues including Various Small Fires, Los Angeles (2016); Gavin Brown’s Enterprise (2013); Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2013); Venus Over Manhattan, New York (2013); Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Los Angeles (2012); Galerie Jacky Strenz, Frankfurt (2006); Art Center, Pasadena (2004); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2003); and Exit Art (2003), among others. Vanessa Conte’s exhibition First Lessons: A Girl’s Tough Breaks is presented in conjunction with her first book-length collection of corporeal punishment fiction, Cures for Pouting Girls (New York: HESTER, 2016).

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Vanessa Conte, Barb, 2016
Acrylic on canvas, 44 x 36 inches / 111.7 x 91.4 cm.

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Vanessa Conte, Andrea, 2016
Acrylic on canvas, 44 x 36 inches / 111.7 x 91.4 cm.

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Vanessa Conte, Live-in, 2016
Graphite on paper, 14 x 17 in. / 35.5 x 43.2 cm (unframed), 16 x 19 in. / 40.6 x 48.3 cm (framed)

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Vanessa Conte, In Knead, 2015
Graphite on paper, 14 x 17 in. / 35.5 x 43.2 cm (unframed), 16 x 19 in. / 40.6 x 48.3 cm (framed)

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Vanessa Conte, Teacher, 2016
Graphite on paper, 14 x 17 in. / 35.5 x 43.2 cm (unframed), 16 x 19 in. / 40.6 x 48.3 cm (framed)

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Vanessa Conte, Shortcutter, 2016
Graphite on paper, 14 x 17 in. / 35.5 x 43.2 cm (unframed), 16 x 19 in. / 40.6 x 48.3 cm (framed)

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Vanessa Conte, Shopping, 2016
Graphite on paper, 14 x 17 in. / 35.5 x 43.2 cm (unframed), 16 x 19 in. / 40.6 x 48.3 cm (framed)

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Vanessa Conte, Out-of-towner, 2016
Graphite on paper, 14 x 17 in. / 35.5 x 43.2 cm (unframed), 16 x 19 in. / 40.6 x 48.3 cm (framed)

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Vanessa Conte, Prophylaxis (Part 2), 2016
Graphite on paper, 24 x 18 in. / 61 x 45.6 cm (unframed), 26 x 20 in. / 66 x 50.8 cm (framed)

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Vanessa Conte, Reckoning, 2016
Graphite on paper, 24 x 18 in. / 61 x 45.6 cm (unframed), 26 x 20 in. / 66 x 50.8 cm (framed)

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Vanessa Conte, Splat!, 2016
Acrylic on canvas, 44 x 36 inches / 111.7 x 91.4 cm.

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Vanessa Conte, Angel, 2016
Acrylic on canvas, 44 x 36 inches / 111.7 x 91.4 cm.

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Vanessa Conte, Mother Nature’s Care, 2016
Graphite on paper, 18 x 24 in. / 45.7 x 61 cm (unframed), 20 x 26 in. / 50.8 x 66 cm (framed)

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