Ali Hval

Think pink!

Ali Hval

Iowa City, United States (US)


Ali Hval (she/her) (b. 1993, Sacramento, CA) is a visual artist currently living and working in Iowa City, Iowa. She is currently a Lecturer in Painting and Drawing at the University of Iowa. She earned her MFA from the University of Iowa in Painting and Drawing with a Ceramics minor, and a BFA in Painting from the University of Alabama. Her work merges ceramic, fabric, installation, and painting. The forms and materials she uses reflect her interest in adornment and the relentless critique and politicization of the body.

Ali has received grants from the Iowa Arts Council as well as from the nationally competitive Windgate Fellowship by the Center of Craft, Creativity, and Design in Asheville, North Carolina. She was the 2022 Stuart Artist-in-Residence at South Dakota State University and was a 2020 resident at the Chautauqua School of Art. She has exhibited her work across the country, including at Ceysson y Bénétière in New York City, Site: Brooklyn and Atlantic Gallery in New York, and South Bay Contemporary in Los Angeles. She has had mentions in New York Jewelry Week, CultBytes and The New Yorker.

Growing up in the southern US, I quickly learned there was a certain expectation of how to “properly” be a woman: now, I challenge what that looks like, using performed femininity as a tool to reveal not only gender disparities but also illuminate the relentless critique and politicization of the female body. Instead of hiding or denying femme aesthetics and female sexuality, my pieces embrace, highlight, and empower them, while acknowledging all the awkwardness, humor, and theatricality they entail.

My work is a balancing act between sensual forms and playful materials. By augmenting erotic, sensual armatures with glistening rhinestones, feathery pom-poms, and candy-colored fabrics, I assign new meanings and connotations to the forms. Using primarily ceramics and fabric, I create sculptures that evoke pieces of oversized jewelry, shoes, and other fashion and domestic items.

I begin a piece by sculpting a high-fired ceramic component, painting it, and carefully studying the surface one by one with tiny rhinestones. From here, I will add textile elements as well as beauty supplies materials like hair scrunchies and nail polish.

The resulting pieces are flirtatious, attention-seeking, and deceptively superficial. Toying with their own actualities and potential, they can speak—glittery and powerful—to politics in their own voice: excessive, unabashedly hyper-feminine, and most importantly, pink.

Woman of Power
DIRTYLAND universe
Strength and POWER
Female Warriors
Viveros Anti Pinup Girls
Girl Power

  1. If The Shoe Fits
    Solo Exhibition
    South Dakota State University
    Brookings, SD
  2. The Ecstasy of Saint Britne
    Curated by Francesca Pessarelli
    Group Exhibition Ceysson & Bénétière
    New York City, New York
  3. Twice Pierced
    Solo Exhibition
    Walnut Gallery
    Gadsden, AL
  4. Cosmetic Justice
    Solo Exhibition
    North Iowa Area Community College
  5. Guilt, Enamel
    Solo Exhibition
    The University of Dubuque, Dubuque, IA
Think space Gallery Los Angeles, CA. USA
Be in art Gallery Brunswick, VIC. Australia

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