Edie Fake and Aili Schmeltz
Experiments in Transformation

April 2 – May 7, 2022
Closing reception: Saturday May 7, 2022, 2-5pm

Co-curated by Bernard Leibov, Director at BoxoPROJECTS and Daniell Cornell, Curator Emeritus at Palm Springs Art Museum.

BoxoPROJECTS is very happy to present Experiments in Transformation, an exhibition of works created by Mojave-based artists Edie Fake and Aili Schmeltz during the isolation of the pandemic. Edie Fake’s high-keyed abstractions are simultaneously figurative and abstract, combining recognizable household objects and dynamic geometries. Aili Schmeltz’s thread-based paintings are largely monochromatic, abstract patterns of vibrating intensity that serve as analogs for lives shaped by gender issues. Schmeltz and Fake draw on their recent domestic isolation to reconsider cultural clichés, both resisting them and transforming them into new possibilities.

Both artists are investigating the fluid potential of perceived distinctions between inside and outside as visual analogues to envision change. Their works ask viewers to consider the arbitrary nature of boundaries and the possibility of lived experiences that resist being constrained. In these compositions with their minimalist vocabulary of abstract, geometric forms, Schmeltz and Fake refuse to acknowledge controlling hierarchies. Instead, they propose artistic spaces of free play where anything is possible.

Download exhibition essay by Co-Curator Daniell Cornell here LINK.


Edie Fake was born in Chicagoland in 1980 and received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2002. Since moving from first Chicago, then to Los Angeles while briefly attending grad school at USC, to now the high desert of Joshua Tree in California, Fake’s work has evolved from his acclaimed Memory Palaces series — reimagined facades of urban lesbian bars and gay nightclubs — to a new feeling of vulnerability due to changes in the U.S. social and political climates. The work blurs lines between architecture, body and biological elements with motifs that seem to be both decorative and protective. Architectural and biological components are used as visual metaphors for the ways in which definition and validation elude trans identities. Fake’s multi-media work — drawings, paintings, installations, comics, books and zines — has been written about and featured in artforum, New York Times, The Paris Review, Art News, Art 21, The Guardian, Hyperallergic, The Comics Journal, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. He was on the first recipients of Printed Matter’s Awards for Artists and his Gaylord Phoenix collection of comics won the 2011 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Graphic Novel. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo shows at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY and Marlborough Gallery in NYC and in group shows at the Museum of Art and Design in NY, the Institute of Art at VCU in Richmond, VA. Fake’s work is held in the collections of the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa, the RISD Museum in Providence, RI, KADIST in San Francisco, and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, KS. 

Artist website: https://westernexhibitions.com/artist/edie-fake

Aili Schmeltz is a sculptor and painter that splits her time in between Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, CA. Aili studied at UCLA, earned her MFA from the University of Arizona, and a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute. Her research based process integrates utopian ideologies into paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Reflecting on Modernism and obsessively engaging with architectural forms, Aili manipulates and reduces these ideas and objects to their simplest form. She challenges the modernists notion of a perfect future and her critical approach questions the political philosophies of the American West that created the artificial environments in which we now live. She has exhibited nationally at galleries such as Edward Cella Art and Architecture, ACME, Commonwealth and Council, and at the Pasadena Museum of California Art in California, as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson; and internationally in cities such as Berlin, Tokyo, Barcelona, London, and Zurich. Aili has been awarded several grants including the Pollock Krasner Grant, and attended several US and international residencies. She is the Founder of Outpost Projects and teaches at Otis College of Art and Design.

Artist website: https://ailischmeltz.com

BoxoPROJECTS is located at 62732 Sullivan Road, Joshua Tree, CA 92252. Highway 62 to White Feather, south on White Feather to Sullivan, west on Sullivan). Please do not use GPS though Google Maps and Waze are correct.

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This organization is funded in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov