The work of Crystal Gale Phelps uses interdisciplinary approaches involving dance, sculpture, and drawing to construct eccentric and absurd relationships that open contradictory dialogues. The body as subject and object claims space to re-contextualize positions of power and the semiotics of identity. She challenges the assumptions of the history of Performance Art, dance, and contemporary circus arts and works along the edges of all three histories. Through circus inspired choreography and the use of prop like objects her work highlights the presence and absence of bodies in space and negotiates terrain that is fraught with the ghosts of embodied experience and muscle memory. For Phelps, this precarious space is where individual and social embodiment coalesce and where positions of power can be challenged and subverted.
Crystal Gale Phelps was born in 1987 in Toledo, OH. She is a Master of Fine Arts candidate at Maine College of Art with an expected completion date of May 2017. In the fall of 2016 she was awarded the Roderick Dew Travel Grant for a research trip in London, England. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Printmaking from Arizona State University in 2008. Upon graduation Phelps was actively involved with two artist run galleries and held leadership roles with each; Eye Lounge in Phoenix, AZ and Launch Pad Cooperative in Toledo, OH. In 2013 she was a featured speaker at TEDxToledo:reIMAGINE. Phelps’ work has been included in exhibitions nationally, in both public and private institutions including: Mesa Contemporary Art Museum (Mesa, AZ), Modified Arts (Phoenix, AZ), and LeSo Gallery (Toledo, OH). Recent exhibitions include WTF! (Work That’s Funny) curated by Luke Ellison (Toledo, OH), Molly Koehn + Crystal Gale Phelps, (Modified Arts, Phoenix, AZ) curated by Connor Descheemaker, and Sawing A Woman In Half (LeSo Gallery, Toledo, OH) curated by Amber LeFever. Phelps currently lives and works in Toledo.