Ben Cuevas, Untitled Diptych (from the Non-Binary Code series), 2022 Acrylic on canvas. Knit in pattern as follows: 1 = Knit 1; 0 = Purl 1 n: 0110 1110; o: 0110 1111; n: 0110 1110; -: 0010 1101; b: 0110 0010; i: 0110 1001; n: 0110 1110; a: 0110 0001; r: 0111 0010; y: 0111 1001

Ben Cuevas

Ben Cuevas (he/they/she) is an artist working in textiles, sculpture, installation, and performance. Cuevas’s multi-disciplinary work interrogates the gendered connotations of knitting to challenge societal expectations of traditional man’s/woman’s work. The queer-feminist tradition informs this exploration of deconstructing hierarchies of gender and craft-based media.

In their new series, titled Non-Binary Code, the artist uses knitting to create abstract, texture “paintings” commenting on binaries of gender and the gendered histories of minimalist abstraction, knitting, and technology. Here, purl and knit stitches represent the numbers 0 and 1 of binary language. Cuevas’s work recalls the punch cards of Jacquard looms and knitting machines, central to the development of binary code of computers. According to the artist, the work “speaks to the irony inherent to their non-binary identity—which simultaneously is rooted in, and negates our society’s binary gendered constructs.”

Born in Southern California in 1987, Ben Cuevas (he/they/she) is an artist whose work is rooted in concepts of otherness and intersectionality, inspired by their queer, non-binary, HIV-positive, and Latinx lived experience. As these multiple components inform their practice, identity directly influences their work, which is naturally interdisciplinary. Cuevas received their B.A. in mixed media installation art & photography at Hampshire College, in 2010. A central part of Cuevas’s work is based in textiles, underscoring queer/feminist ideologies within the long and gendered history of women’s work with fiber-based materials. Cuevas also speaks to queer histories and the idea of the archive through photobased pieces centering images of sexual minorities from past into the present. This can be seen in their piece Ghosts of the Trucks of the Westside Highway, and their ongoing photo series titled Reinserted.

Cuevas’s artworks have been shown across the US with exhibitions held at Craft Contemporary (formerly The Craft and Folk Art Museum) in Los Angeles, Museum of the City of New York, The Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York City, and others. Several books and publications feature Cuevas’s work, such as DUETS: Ben Cuevas & Annie Sprinkle in Conversation, published by Visual AIDS, and Queer Threads: Crafting, Identity, and Community, edited by John Chaich and Todd Oldham. Acclaimed as a public speaker, Cuevas has given talks at institutions including Brown University, Indiana University, Ohio State University, The Museum of Sex, and the Fire Island Artist Residency.

Instagram @BenCuevas_Art

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