The Clam

Ava Katz

See it On Campus: Level 2

Visitor Info

find it directly on your left when you walk in from the main enterance

ECU Award Recipient

Opus Art Supplies Graduation Award BFA – Honourable Mention

30” x 12”
Hammered steel, satin, thread, polyester fiber, acrylic paint, gloss medium, o ring, 2023

My work challenges assumptions around queer bodies by highlighting diverse expressions of gender in the natural world.  I explore themes of queer liberation and self-reclamation as well as the importance of community and freedom of expression. 

This piece utilizes the form of a razor shell clam as a vessel for centering pleasure and bodily autonomy. The mollusk defies traditional depictions of a vulva by proudly displaying an elongated clitoral form, representing the diversity of gender non-conforming bodies. The shaft is adorned with a large dangling piercing as an act of self-expression and reclamation. Referencing histories of body modification, the piercing is also used as an aesthetic indicator to signal identity to a community. The steel shell creates a tough impenetrable exterior, yet it is cracked open, exposing the soft flesh. There is a balance between the vulnerability of self-expression, of allowing oneself to be seen, and the fear of predation. To open yourself up is to be brave in the face of that fear, and to choose authenticity over conformity. 

Other Works

A Lover’s Touch (ode to trans joy)

35” x 16”
Cotton weave, leather, thread, polyester fiber, wire, grommets, key rings

Lover’s Knot

28” x 22”
Satin, wire, polyester fiber, acrylic paint. gloss medium

The Vessel

62” x 41” x 20”
Cotton weave, vinyl, thread, wire, steel rod, padding, acrylic paint, 2023

Revenge of the Beaten

40” round
Cotton weave, thread, polyester fiber, acrylic paint, carabiners, chain, 2023

The Trap

1.5m round
Satin, pleather, nuts, bolts, thread, wire, 2023

Relentless Ambition

40” x 50” x 70” (variable)
Cotton weave, thread, polyester fiber, acrylic paint, 2024

Ava Katz

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Ava Katz is a queer multi-media artist combining soft forms with painterly techniques. They are based in Vancouver, BC, and received a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in April 2024. Their work draws on connections between textiles and the body to activate a corporeal awareness in the viewer. By treating the sewn object as a painting, the piece becomes activated through the specificity of the brush stroke.

Their practice expands upon the androgyny of natural forms, participating in a larger dialogue around queer ecology and the naturalization of trans and intersex bodies. They explore expressions of connection and vulnerability, interrogating the complexity of relational dynamics as evidenced in plant and animal life. Strange forms evolve in response to environmental specificities, demonstrating adaptability, resilience, and community. By presenting encounters with non-human life forms as sites of ambiguity and fluidity, their work questions ideas of physical normality.

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