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Residency

COMMON INVASION

Katie Schreiber (she/her) and Melisa Novotna (she/her) form an artist duo, drawing on their backgrounds in Fine Art and Fashion they explore themes of the gaze, internal identity and masquerade.

They use materials from drag culture including makeup and costume as mediums to express their individual identities and assert themselves as the subject, capturing their image through photography. Alongside this they use post production techniques; cropping and filters, manipulating each other’s images and taking on the role of editor. This alternating process allows them to explore the power dynamic between the subject and the gaze and ask questions about how much our individual identities can permeate through external filters.

“Because I know who I am and who I wish to be, I will not let the others tell me who to become. Letting all the nasty words created by the ones that have no power over me go down the drain. Washing my face from the stares, eyes and souls. Getting stronger step by step … I can not care. And I will”

– Melisa Novotna

Photography: Katie Schreiber / Edit: Melisa Novotna

Pulling at the terrain that is my skin I wonder how I can get back to that place, so naive and unaware of what they think I should be. Am I starting over or simply continuing from where I left off?”

– Katie Schreiber

Photography: Melisa Novotna / Edit: Katie Schreiber

Add a little there and there? Completely show who I am inside or leave a bit of the basic on top? Me, a canvas that changes based on my mood and the power of my brush; I deserve to bloom”

– Melisa Novotna

Photography: Katie Schreiber / Edit: Melisa Novotna

It is not just a canvas, each brush stroke permeates deep down into my soul, like synapses transporting along a complex root system, with fireworks of joy erupting as my outer exterior becomes aligned with my inner world. Thoughts of them become forgotten for I am in the moment. It’s just me and my body.”

– Katie Schreiber

Photography: Melisa Novotna / Edit: Katie Schreiber

I’m so bored of trying to act lady like and how everyone expects me to be. I don’t care.

And that’s what matters.

I don’t care.”

– Melisa Novotna

Photography: Katie Schreiber / Edit: Melisa Novotna

 I lie back supported and soothed by the night lights and padded cushions. I feel comforted and safe in my surroundings. As I come face to face with my reflection I like what I see, but I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge the fear of them seeing me. I brace myself for this transition from familiar comforts to full exposure.”

– Katie Schreiber

Photography: Melisa Novotna / Edit: Katie Schreiber

All the colours in the world that I hide in my heart. The life that I hide in the dark circle of my eye. It’s the last night’s joy, pride and love. My pink glasses.”

– Melisa Novotna

Photography: Katie Schreiber / Edit: Melisa Novotna

It’s been a while since I’ve walked in these shoes, and my good friend imposter syndrome is lingering in the background. Have I outgrown this period, should I retire this routine? I toss these demons aside and definitely pull up.”

– Katie Schreiber

Photography: Melisa Novotna / Edit: Katie Schreiber

The blister the back of my heel and the black bruise on my knee from an unnecessary fall when my heel decided to give out is something that gives me more life than sitting in an office behind a desk. Might be controversial, but as I said, I don’t care.”

– Melisa Novotna

Photography: Katie Schreiber / Edit: Melisa Novotna

As I place my foot on the ground I feel a surge of energy flow through my body and out through the tip of my nose. As my body begins to relax I think about whether my legs will stand this strong outside or will they quibble and slouch in the presence of gawking bodies? I convince myself to keep my head high, with my chin tilted upwards. I have no need to seek validation in their eyes.”

– Katie Schreiber

Photography: Melisa Novotna / Edit: Katie Schreiber