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Artist’s work explores dualities, connections

Chris Walker Chorvat, a longtime artist who says she is half male and half female, is preparing to graduate from Eastern Washington University with a BFA. She is standing in her Spokane Valley studio space Thursday. JESSE TINSLEY jesset@spokesman.com (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Chris Walker Chorvat, a longtime artist who says she is half male and half female, is preparing to graduate from Eastern Washington University with a BFA. She is standing in her Spokane Valley studio space Thursday. JESSE TINSLEY jesset@spokesman.com (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
By Jennifer Larue jlarue99@hotmail.com

Multidisciplinary artist Chrissa Walker Chorvat creates in a no-holds-barred fashion with a proclivity for commentaries on sex and war – things that, to her, are closely related.

“It’s all me trying to represent the possibilities of goodness in seeing situations in a different light, and transforming the sublime into situations that reflect the subjectivity of desire and power. I maintain a fluid view of social construction that comes from a place of emotional survival,” she said. “The sexualizing of food, war and grandiosity have always functioned as a method of my psychological survival.”

Chorvat was born biologically both male and female, or what she describes as bi-gender. She was the child of a lieutenant colonel and navigator for strategic air command during the Cold War.

Traveling Europe in her youth, she found inspiration at cathedrals and museums. Her grandmother, a professor at Western Washington University, also inspired Chorvat with lessons in visual art and writing.

“Art is therapy and humility. Understanding the impermanence of my own perception helps me to greet new ideas and find passions in the mundane,” she said. “Understanding the impermanence of my grievances allows me to insert humor into my art as a medium of transformation.”

Her repertoire includes glasswork, mixed-media sculptures, paintings, performance art, video and writing, all peppered with representations of both male and female genitalia, figures and objects of war, including rockets.

Many of her sculptures have working parts, like the fighter plane embellished with vibrators – flip a switch and it sounds just like an F-14. Videos include the sounds of adult films added to dinner parties or dancing religious zealots.

“It’s not for shock value,” she said. “It’s what art is about: illustrating the duality of life and human nature and how it is all synonymous.”

Chorvat will graduate from Eastern Washington University with a bachelor of fine arts, culminating with a group exhibition at the college opening May 27.

On Friday, Chorvat will paint all day with 14 other artists, creating collaborative paintings for a fundraiser for Hatch, an art space where she has a studio. The paintings will be available for viewing that evening, and a live auction of the 15 paintings will take place May 28 at Hatch, 9612 E. Sprague Ave.

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