In honor of Women’s Month Coastal Contemporary Gallery presents Masc.

MARCH 3-30, 2020

Opening Event: Friday, March 13th 2020

Time: 5:00 – 8:00 PM



Mike White (Providence/New York, United States)



Rose Keeffe  (Massachusetts, United States)

Renee Yu Jin (Beijing, China)

PeiXin Liu (Montreal, Quebec)

Hillel O'Leary (NY, RI, ME, United States)

Laura Jaramillo (Venezuela, Egypt, Rhode Island, United States)

Julia Jankilevitsch (NY, Rhode Island United States, Warsaw, Poland)



DJ, Eli Backer (NY, LA, United States)













Exhibition Statement


Masc. presents eight national and international artists of diverse backgrounds whose works question the ways in which people make space for themselves. Through an examination of contemporary masculinity and gendered power dynamics, these works consider the ramifications of unchecked power, and the patriarchal tendency (impulse) toward control.


What does it mean to claim or take up space? There are times when knowing how to make space for yourself is a matter of survival, at other times this pattern must be un-learned in an effort to make room for others to have a space of their own.


There are unspoken rules to how one must present a masculine image. These rules often limit the extent to which one can develop meaningful relationships, due to a fear of seeming weak or fragile. However, it is precisely in that sharing of weakness, in asking and offering help, and coming together with the hope that sum is greater than its parts, that community is developed.


At the crux of this issue is a discussion of empathy. Each artist works with masculinity as a relational problem, one that can’t be viewed in a vacuum outside of the influence of culture or interpersonal relationships.

Each of the artists’ respective bodies of work address socio-political power dynamics. Their approaches are varied, filtering their understanding through domestic relationships, issues of gender passed down through familial tradition or by attempting to reconcile the differences and similarities of gender roles between cultures. Through these approaches, each artist has grappled with their understanding of the ways in which they have been conditioned.


Aesthetically, the works are largely reminiscent of monuments, classical architecture, and 1970's performance art; these are all institutions of American culture that have laid out a rigid and at times near-totalitarian set of guidelines that dictate internalized ideas of our own individual social positioning. However, the more rigid the rules, the easier they are to break. Although it was often drenched in machismo, 1970’s performance art was a platform that allowed for the radical feminist theory of the time to break into mainstream culture, and subsequently become a vital part of the 20th century artistic canon.


Monuments made from stone and bronze carry the signifiers of ideological perpetuity. What happens when a monument is made to something impermanent, transient or liminal? Many of the works in this exhibition are monuments to a moment, a gesture, or a nostalgic impulse. They consider the way that we position ourselves in relationship to our partners, peers and cultures. We find the artists examining their relationships with toxic power dynamics and masculinity, in pursuit of a refined empathy.


Exhbition Installation Imagery

Michael White
Eli Backer

Mike White is an artist and curator working in Providence, Rhode Island and New York.


His work primarily deals with issues of domestic space and gender roles. Public and private space become a primary concern in this work. Recently, the focus of this body of work has shifted to include the role of digital interfaces in our public/private lives, and how we connect with each other as people.


Coming from an interdisciplinary background, his work uses a range of traditional and experimental materials including bronze, cast glass, silicone and film. He graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 2018, where he studied Glass Sculpture and Optics.


His work has been exhibited in The Zverev Center of Contemporary Art in Moscow, The Cosmopolitan in Warsaw, The Palazzo Cenci in Rome and throughout the United States.

Eli Backer is an artist, composer, and engineer.  Her practice is not media specific, but carries threads of memory and community across sculpture, design, photography, printmaking, textiles, and music/audio.  She is driven by the people and machines she surrounds herself with, and is interested in the communities they form, even just between two people. Constantly creating visual and audio records of life around her, these run through or parallel to her pieces, lifting the everyday past the soley formal and experiential.  A practicing DJ of 11 years, Backer’s sets balance of past and present, capturing musical friendships and memories, while creating common space for the crowd around her.


Shortly after she was born, Backer moved to Bainbridge Island, 8 miles west of Seattle, WA.  Her childhood was in the context of this small town, geographically isolated, with its subculture, freedoms, and restrictions. She attended Cal Poly for Computer Engineering and minored in Music Theory. At a job making very large fountains, her co-intern suggested she apply to grad school.  She recently graduated RISD’s Glass program where, in complement to her practice she taught courses on memory and site, as well as fabrication– from machine embroidery to ceramic 3d printing, to circuit design and assembly.

Hillel O'Leary
PeiXin Liu

Hillel O'Leary received his MFA from The Pennsylvania State University  in 2017, a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design  in 2011 and an Associate of Arts from Suffolk County Community College  in 2011. 


Hillel O'Leary is a sculptor and designer living and working in the northeastern United States. Currently he leads and manages the exhibits department, and all stages of planning, scheduling, budgeting, contracting, design, fabrication, and maintenance across multiple museum exhibits for Providence Children’s Museum in Rhode Island. He provides collaborative leadership for the Creativity Initiative, a multi-year project which aims to connect kids and local artists in order to explore the roots of creativity.


His own work draws from the exploration of naturally occurring and man-made form. It serves to provide a basis for the contemplation of our relationships, and to that which surrounds us.




Laura Tamaro Jaramillo

PeiXin Liu  PeiXin Liu is a passionate artist and designer. She accomplished her BFA in Furniture design at Rhode Island School of Design. Her work explores a wide range of topics within social interactions. Through applying unexpected material onto existing forms, she creates a narrative that demonstrates a particular aspect about social relations. She is often inspired by her multicultural identity(Chinese/Canadian).

Julia Jankilevitsch
Rose Keeffe

Laura Tamaro Jaramillo is a Boricua artist and designer born in Venezuela and raised in Cairo, Egypt. She sees herself as a wanderer - simultaneously at home and a transient in many lands.


Her interdisciplinary practice centers around themes of identity, culture and memory - continually drawing on her relationship to her body and the spaces it inhabits.


She earned her bachelor's degrees from Rhode Island School of Design in Furniture Design, and Brown University in Gender and Sexuality Studies with a minor in Urban Studies. Her practice often blurs the lines between her interests, resulting in an array of unexpected objects charged with meaning and purpose. She is a full on believer in the power of effective design communication and disrupting antiquated colonial standards that silence the expressive means of marginalized and oppressed peoples.




Julia Jankilevitsch is an artist based in Providence, RI and New York, NY. Born in Warsaw, Poland, her work has been shown in the United States and Europe.


Specializing in painting, sculpture, video and performance, she focused on painting while attending the Rhode Island School of Design. Primarily through abstraction, her works consider movement and choreography, the ways in which humans modify their bodies, and objective versus subjective perceptions of reality.


She has works in European private collections, and enjoys long walks on the beach and voodoo.




Renee Yu Jin

Rose Keeffe  Rose Keeffe Received her BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2018 and has since established herself in Boston where she maintains her studio practice. Rose grew up in central Massachusetts and has been pursuing art from a young age. She was inspired to seek an education in painting by her late grandfather, Joseph Keeffe, whom himself was an established artist in the Boston area.


In her works, Rose explores themes of homosexuality, cultural iconography, and personal narrative. She is interested in utilizing visual lexicons, tropes and historical cannon to create works that call to mind a wider narrative and can create an expansive dialogue around her works.  She uses motifs and iconography to build narrative and embed meaning in her works. She references familiar narratives, tropes, and imagery from history and pop culture to create a “chimera” narrative that, through collaging together an array of source material, creates a new and unique story that is in dialogue with the historic and cultural themes it draws from.


As a lesbian and active member of the LGBT community, she is interested in using coding to obscure the true meaning of her works. Historically, the gay community has been marginalized and persecuted and so, has developed a history of communication and function that evades notice or superficially conforms to the norm. Rose’s works make use of this coding by hiding messages in her works that are only readable to specific targeted communities.


In her most recent works, Rose explores gender dynamics, social expectation and identity as it relates to her family, community, and experience.

Renee Yu Jin is an interdisciplinary artist whose work includes drawing, sculpture, photography, video, and performance. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Providence, RI with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Sculpture in 2018. Renee Yu Jin creates work that is playful as it explores the self and personhood in regards to political systems, social and cultural paradigms in different cultures through the avenues of anthropology, mythology, religion and phenomenology. She is currently based in China where she is an MFA candidate at Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing.


Her work has been shown internationally, including In-Between States, ACRE Gallery, Chicago, IL (2019); Watch the Arc, Woods-Gerry Gallery, Providence, RI (2018); We Thought of You, Gelman Gallery, Providence, RI (2018); La Tiny Biennale è giunta alla 5° edizione, Temple University, Rome, Italy (2017); +1/Year of the Rooster, The Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, New York, NY (2017) and Awagami Print Expression 2016, Bumpodo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2017).


She is also the founder of The China Space project, which researches and interviews Chinese alternative/independent art space. The work can be found on




Mike White
Mike White

Leg Waxing Gelatin Silver Photographs (3) Triptych 14"H x 11"w Framed Series of stills from Performance

Mike White
Mike White

Provisional Maintenance Steel, Rifle (Rifle not for sale) Purchased will include gun constructed of deer tallow 12"H x 48"W x 12"D

Mike White
Mike White

Under Pressure (Portrait of Julia, Portrait of Mike) Two Part Stone, Bronze 56"H x 24"W x 24"D

Mike White
Mike White

Pansy No. 7 Bronze, Bubble Gum 2.5"H x 2"W x 2.5"D

Renee Yu Jin
Renee Yu Jin

Renee Bronze, Cement 78"H x 8"W x 8"D

Hillel O'Leary
Hillel O'Leary

____Is Where the Heart Is_ Cast Plaster 10"H x 10"W x 11"D

Rose Keeffe
Rose Keeffe

Hometown Agonistes Mixed Media on Vellum 38"H x 38"W

Rose Keeffe
Rose Keeffe

Varg Vikernes Oil on Canvas 30"H x 22"W

Rose Keeffe
Rose Keeffe

John Wayne Oil on Canvas 30"H x 24"W

Rose Keeffe
Rose Keeffe

Beheadings Oil on Canvas 30"H x 24"W

Rose Keeffe
Rose Keeffe

My Favorite Wife Oil on Canvas 48"H x 40"W Cary Grant . Randolph Scott

Laura Tamara Jaramillo
Laura Tamara Jaramillo

First Blood Bleached Ash Wood 33"H x 18"W x 18"D