in conjunction with Art Shape Mammoth
curated by Jane Gordon
July 7th through August 3rd, 2017
Friday, July 7th, 5-8 pm
gallery hours: Fridays 2-7pm, Saturdays and Sundays 1-5pm, and by appointment
Three artists investigate materials, labor, womanhood, femininity, and politics through their personal perspectives and sense of touch. As women, the clothes we choose to wear, the types of work we choose to do, expectations based on beauty and age, or the desire to be feminine yet strong, can run contrary to societal pressures. When confronted with socio-cultural norms that contradict our sense of self and place, different approaches arise to attempt to resolve that dissonance.
Sarah Magida embroiders abstract patterns using a limited style of stitching techniques in order to take each to its full effect. She creates complex, fantastical landscapes of color and shape, line and form, and seats her compositions on canvas as a nod to her original medium of choice, painting. Other fabrics, beads, and lace are often incorporated as she works with the materials intuitively with little planning of composition.
Fay Stanford’s woodcuts and monotypes, printed on cotton, quilted and painted, explore interactions with nature, the process of aging, and life’s journey. She uses humor and a loose style, creating lightness and optimism within works that embrace the depth and wildness of life and death in our world.
Gathering by Jane Gordon is a material exploration that plays with site as it offers an aesthetic akin to a comfortably unmade bed or the lapping waves of a lake. She also uses fabric to create forms that are dipped in clay slip and fired, resulting in a ceramic shell of the cloth form. Her use of fabric and ceramic in this way references the dynamic of planned obsolescence or the temporality of nature versus permanence or lasting value.
In part, these works are personal meditations, using traditional techniques to create conceptual work. With skilled dexterity, the repetition of motion and form allows an artist mental space to contemplate while grounding them in the present, amidst a cacophony of sensory input and the current cultural hunger for immediate gratification. But when does the personal begin to reflect on our political environment?
Categorizing a piece of art as “craft” has often been used to demean or lessen its value, to demonstrate a lesser skill or talent, a lack of conceptual rigor or an immature aesthetic. The use of textiles and other techniques often labelled as “craft” by all three artists creates an association for the work that connects to the history of women’s contributions to these fields while diverging from traditional themes, and also utilizing traditional craft techniques in an experimental fashion.
For the viewer, these works provide a different perspective into these materials and techniques, and question the framework generally attributed to them. This questioning is of utmost importance in a society as diverse and complex as our own.