image of a hand cut paper collage and graphite drawing by Catalina SchiebenerImage credit: Catalina Schliebener, "Growing Sideways," 2021, hand cut paper collage and graphite

Growing Sideways

Catalina Schliebener: Growing Sideways
Curated by John Chaich

In Catalina Schliebener: Growing Sideways, dozens of drawings-on-collage frame the Mills Gallery space to culminate in a site-specific, floor-to-ceiling installation growing across two- and three- dimensional surfaces and creating a disjointed narrative exploring gender formation and erotic curiosity.

The exhibition takes its title from queer scholar Kathryn Bond Stockton’s notion that in contrast to the normative view of “growing up”, the non-straight child “grows sideways” through life-long, lateral interactions between childhood motivations and adult identifications. For Stockton, queer children “grow meanings by putting people and things rather oddly besides themselves.” In this installation, Chilean-born, Brooklyn-based artist Catalina Schliebener explores whether gender is prosthetic, time is fluid, and the past is present. 

John Chaich and Catalina Schliebener | Photo by Melissa Blackall

The artist culls content from coloring books, Disney cartoons, and etiquette and craft guides to create a personal lexicon and abstract storyline through collage, accented by hand-drawings in graphite. Careful but playful, these pieces traverse the gallery walls in a consistent, clean line amid vinyl shapes that expand in scale, density, and repetition, in conversation with a range of found objects arranged against bright pink walls. Schliebener’s world grows sideways through the space, inviting contemplation and interaction.

Closing Conversation

For the Closing Conversation Catalina Schliebener: Growing Sideways, the artist is in conversation with Philadelphia-based artist Samantha Nye. In their practices and friendship, the two artists bring connected but divergent approaches to gender, queerness, age, materiality, and space. The two artists were joined by the two curators, John Chaich and Michelle Millar Fisher. This program is produced with promotional support from the Museum  of Fine Arts Boston and HACHE Galeria, Buenos Aires.

Catalina Schliebener: Growing Sideways is the first exhibition in the new 1:1 Curatorial Initiative series presented in the Mills Gallery at Boston Center for the Arts. Each exhibition in this series presents a collaborative project between one curator and one artist, and either introduces a new artist or highlights a new aspect of a more experienced artist.

Organized by curator John Chaich, Growing Sideways debuted at the Bureau of General Services Queer Division in New York City in 2016 and traveled to HACHE Galleria in Buenos Aires in 2017.

The Sounds Of Growing Sideways

About the Artist

Catalina Schliebener

Catalina Schliebener (she/they) is a visual artist who works primarily with collage, installation, and murals, Schliebener’s work draws on images, objects, and narratives associated with childhood and explores gender, sexuality, and class.

Their work has been exhibited in Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Santiago, Chile), Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art (New York, NY), Centro Cultural de España (Santiago, Chile), Centro Cultural Recoleta (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Center for Books Arts (NewYork, NY), Catalyst Arts (Belfast, Northern Ireland), Tiger Strikes Asteroid (Brooklyn, NY), Hache Galería (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Galería Jardín Oculto (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Galería Metropolitana (Santiago, Chile), and Bureau of General Services-Queer Division (New York, NY), among others. A recipient of multiple FONDART Grants (Cultural and Arts Development Fund of the Government of Chile), Schliebener also received grants from DIRAC (Board of Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Relations of Chile) and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (New York, NY). They also received a Queer Artist Fellowship from the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art (2017), and an Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) Fellowship from the Bronx Museum of the Arts (2018). In addition, Schliebener has extensive teaching experience, from early childhood education to undergraduate education, on topics ranging from philosophy and art theory to art instruction in schools, studios, and museum settings. They are currently working as a teaching artist with the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, and facilitates gender and sexuality trainings for the Early Childhood Professional Development Institute at the City University of New York (CUNY). They received a Bachelor of Philosophy and a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the Universidad de Arte y Ciencias Sociales (ARCIS; Santiago, Chile).Represented by HACHE GALERÍA in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Instagram: @CATALINA_SCHLIEBENER  Website:

About the Curator

John Chaich

John Chaich is an independent curator and designer interested in otherness, materiality, and communication. He has curated a range of traveling exhibitions including Mixed Messages: A(I)DS, Art, and Words, produced for Visual AIDS at La MaMa Galleria, New York, and Transformer, Washington, DC; Queer Threads: Crafting Identity & Community at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York, the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, the Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts, and the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles; Vivek Shraya: Trisha at the Ace Hotel New York; Queering the BiblioObject at the Center for Book Arts; and Shaun Leonardo: The Breath of Empty Space at MICA, MASS MOCA, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. With Todd Oldham, he edited the coffee table book Queer Threads, which received the American Library Association’s 2018 Israel Fishman Non-FictionAward. Chaich received his MFA in Communications Design from Pratt Institute, NY, where he is a visiting instructor.



A small yellow ceramic chick faces the wall. Installation view of Catalina Schliebener: Growing Sideways at the Boston Center for the Arts. (2021) Photo by Melissa Blackall

Press for Growing Sideways