MasterMind 2016 Finalist: Artist Allison Kotzig Brings Inspiration From Slovakia to Her Boynton Beach Studio

This year's three MasterMind Award winners — chosen from a group of ten finalists — will be announced Thursday, February 18, at Artopia, New Times' annual soirée celebrating Miami culture. For tickets and more information, visit newtimesartopia.com.

Allison Kotzig has been a local provocateur on the art scene for several years. Her shocking vagina art took everyone by surprise at Wynwood’s Hangar Gallery during Miami Art Week in 2012. “It actually started as a Valentine present for my husband, but I realized it would terrify him, so I just made it into an artwork,” she told New Times back when the town was abuzz with her specific brand of genital-centered feminist artwork.

For her Artopia showcase this year, the enigmatic Kotzig will install Ouroboros: Forest Spring Rising. The piece, composed of 20 feet of recycled hair material entangled in black branches and hanging from the ceiling, is meant to be mythical. Along with physical materials, video projections of a green moving forest will be set to glimmer over the entire space. Witches, centaurs, and other mythological creatures will make a virtual appearance. The whole piece is actually inspired by the artist’s time living in the Carpathian foothills of Slovakia, where she splits her time when not in her Boynton Beach studio.

“This piece is both a conceptual work as well as a portrait of a spirit I saw lingering by a remote Carpathian forest road,” explains the artist.

Kotzig is fully committed to what she envisions her social responsibility as an artist to be. In Slovakia, she cofounded a volunteer organization that cooks and delivers food to refugees in transit camps throughout Hungary and Austria. She is also an active member of the Miami-based collective Artists for Black Lives Matter.

Her impressive commitment to social movements comes after years of exploring the southeastern United States in her car as a 15-year-old self-described feminist punk-rock chick. Her hard-edged experiences gave her the grit and passion to labor in both her activism and art practice — aspects of her life that can’t be disentangled from each other.

For Kotzig, the cycle of life, death, and rebirth is a hallmark of eternal fertility and divine femininity. “The bone is a pelvic bone representing the infinity of life/death/rebirth,” she explains of her largely obtuse installation. “The contrast of the long hair [which is a sign of fertility] and the bone and bodiless presence disturbs [the viewer] while also discussing the latent power in death.”

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