potbelly pin-ups by Shoshanna Weinberger: an Intern’s Response

As an Art History and Gender & Sexuality Studies double major, my internship at Woman Made Gallery has been an extremely valuable learning experience. The current solo show by Shoshanna Weinberger “potbelly pin-ups: out of many one,” proved highly relevant to one of my art history courses, Black Visual Cultures: Race and Representation, and became the basis for this video, my final project for the class.

After the opening of Shoshanna Weinberger’s exhibition, I had the opportunity to interview her. She also sent articles about her work for me to reference, one of which, “Attack of the Boogeywoman: Visualizing Black Women’s Grotesquerie in Afrofuturism” by Jared Richardson, became my jumping off point for this video. I quickly became interested in comparing the work of Wangechi Mutu with Shoshanna Weinberger in their use of the visual rhetoric of the grotesque to tackle issues of the historical and contemporary representation of the black female body as other.

WMG-2014.05.09-014

Weinberger and friend at opening of potbelly pin-ups at Woman Made Gallery

 

-Why did you develop this body of work for your exhibition at Woman Made Gallery?

SW: 

The work in Potbelly Pin-Ups: Out of Many One stems from an ongoing body of work that I have been exploring for several years. The imagery explores my criticism of what popular culture defines feminine beauty to be.  I then skew and distort, creating mutations of beauty. For this show, I want to personalize my history by using the creed of my native Jamaica Out of Many One within the title to suggest myself “out of many one” to connect the idea that mutations are unique (one) from a generation. These single mutations I construct allude to the popular pin-up and its history to single out feminine beauty however in my case decidedly ugly. I purposely frame each pin-up inside the broader alluding to the pin-up poster size 30 x 22 or 30 x 26.  And the large scale works referring to billboard size.

-What does it mean to show this particular work in a feminist art gallery?

SW: 

Having my first Chicago solo show at WMG is an honor and it’s ideology is fitting within the context of my work.  I hope the show will receive exposure to the WMG community opening a dialogue and finding connections within the greater Chicago-art community as well.

Not sure if you know, but it was a few year after I graduated from SAIC ’95 that I applied to an exhibition open call at Woman Made Gallery (maybe 1998?) I did not get into the show.  However instead of absorbing the rejection as a blow to my artistic practice and ego, it only fueled and inspired me to further my career as an artist. Creating work for that show extended into building a larger body of work and portfolio, which I then applied to graduate school with. I was accepted into the Yale School of Art, Yale University, Masters of Fine Arts Painting/Printmaking program MFA ’03 and have to thanks WMG for inspiring me.  And make having this solo show even more significant to me.

-We are totally moved and impressed by the seemingly impossible and very successful co-existence of humor and violence in your work. What is the source of these two elements, and how are they in conversation with one another?

SW:

I enjoy my titles. They stem from memories, pop-culture whether from music, classic or film noir. Along with historical references, natural things, and even beauty products. I enjoy marrying disparate things and the titles evoke some humor and/or at times can be slightly political and subversive.

-At the opening, we talked about your grandmothers, one Jamaican and one Jewish, and their influence on you and your work. Can you talk about how family criticism and support influence your work? Furthermore, how your heritage and ethnically diverse upbringing influence you?

SW: 

Being ethnically diverse allowed me to see that there really is no difference other than people worshipping differently thus my discussion about my two grandmothers being the same. I have a problem with checking the “other” box in the “race” catagory.  I usually write in “Human Race” I dislike that our culture needs to organize and catalogue people for statistics… I am a product of love not race or religion.

However because of society’s construction, I have often reference W.E.B. Du Bois’ “Double Consciousness.” I have in other drawing series used the jazz song “strangefruit” to define myself as peripheral, examining how others perceive and define me, as I am considered “exotic” in America; and not “Jamaican-enough” in Kingston.  This experience of existing in two-different cultures, has allowed me understand the complex facets of beauty from both geographical perspectivas.  Returning to titles for a moment… the jazz song title Strangefruit seems to sum up this idea complexity in abstraction.  I have incorporated the title of famous protest song Strange Fruit written by Jewish-school teacher Abel Meeropol and made famous by singer Billie Holiday. Adapting the song-title Strange Fruit as a defining symbol for myself: the product of a Jewish man and Caribbean woman. The Jewish man “seeded or wrote” the poem and an African-American (in my case Caribbean-Black) woman who gave “birth or sung” – me the poem.  Thus the title has a personal reference through cultural reference.

Lucky, that both families have supported my artistic career, and had a mother who was an artist herself. My mother Marlene Lewis went back to get her MFA in the 90s and at one point we were both in the 2006 and 2008 Jamaican Biennials separately presenting our work there. In 2010, my mother lost for 12 year battle with breast cancer however heartfelt she cannot be with me to share these experiences; she is with me in spirit everyday.

Today, my family is very excited for my successes and I believe in not having expectations and living up to anyone’s standards but my own. Glad to have had the freedom to be myself and not have a complex about who I am and where I fit in.

-You also talk about the distortions of beauty in the media, can you talk about how that personally affects you and your work?

SW:  

I am trying to present an exaggeration of aesthetics that result in imagery depicting excess, malformed and decapitated bodies, mutations of multiple-mouths, breasts and buttocks. I am displaying only the parts that are desired: lips, legs, ass, breasts and hair.  I am reducing to the most sexualized and then repeating it removing everything else and leaving parts.  I consider what popular culture defines as feminine beauty to be is skewed and distorted. Making connections with the awkwardness as a female growing-up, trying to define myself within a context of regional, social, and cultural beauty. Reflecting on my personal issue the media and Hollywood. I am exploring that the social norms are abnormal. Excessive plastic surgery and body dimorphic are just one of many avenues that I explore.  My drawings relate to all women as each of us see magazines and deal with the global media culture of beauty that in many ways comes at us from various avenues. I believe that it a part of our obsession that extends beyond beauty but cultural ideology.

-I am very interested in your focus on the figure of the Hottentots Venus and how that trope extends to modern day figures. How do you see the image of the “Hottentot” functioning in your work?

SW:

I believe my drawings touch on a boarder cultural range of body portraiture. Although there is a vast history of Western culture creating myths based on difference and fear of femininity as viewed within a male-culture. My drawings are a body of work that explore contemporary connections stemming from the myth of ‘otherness doing otherness things’ as well as my addressing/defining cultural stereotypes, and historical references of subjugated women as modern-day Hottentots alluding to Sarrtjie Baartman, Josephine Baker and branching out to contemporaries, from Jennifer Lopez, Snookie to the infantile Honey-Boo Boo. Recreating a visual psychology in the drawings is captured in the beauty distortion found in prepubescent pageant toddlers, teenage girls, strip-club dancers, West-Indian Dancehall performers, pop-culture icons, and even self-portraits.  It is wonderful to have women of all back-ground express that they relate to a pose or moment in my work.

-Your work has been compared to that of Wangechi Mutu and Kara Walker regarding its representation and distortion of the black female body. How do you see your work interacting with such themes?

SW: 

It is nice to be aligned with both artists.  Each of us make work in context to individual perceptions of cultural history. Mutu, Walker and I each have our own personal visual language and unique mark making that explores similar themes on body, hair, identity and culture.

Kara Walker’s focus has been the southern-African-American diasporia slightly different from me Caribbean-American persona however we both use the silhouette. My use of silhouettes is to create an anonymous figure to show my deformed bodies along with presenting a solid (at times) clean form which Walker presents in a different more political theme.

I consider myself a visual anthropologist examining female archetypes. Installing combinations of drawings, I create a collection of images on paper that present as one work. Both Mutu and Walker use drawing differently.  I lean towards a modernist style with wall installations are displayed in a grid.

Mutu has play with material and is more surreal in her constructions. Her collage-work is from found media, like her, I play with drawing styles to create an exquisite corpse but I make my own collage papers.

I hope to have the same exposure that both Wangechi Mutu and Kara Walker have now.

-When we spoke you talked about how you know each piece specifically according to their names. Can you talk a little bit about the ways you name your pieces? What is the significance of naming your works so specifically? What does wordplay and the use of cliches and slang add to your work?

SW: My titles stem from pop-culture of my generation; humour; film noir; the harlem renaissance; personal sound bites; music titles; nods to art heroes; and object found in nature.  My drawings are specimens.

In 32AAA the image of a strong Afro-styled figure stands with zebra bra, the title 32AAA refers to my late mother’s bra size.  Or in the title Crooked Teeth, when I placed the collage paper red lips down on the drawing, I married the title to the work as it seemed fitting right then and there.  She Wears It Well, is one my large scale drawings that “wears”  my Love Lost Love Found graffiti is one of the darker images with a sarcastic tone.  Early Bloomer, refers to myself awkward early pre-pubescence trying fit-in with my body changing. Smoker, large scale black ground work the lips look like the end of a cigarette and the act of drawing up a cigarette has an oral, orphus and sexual relationship. Surprise, wearing a strap on or maybe its a portrait of a middle sex?

Honey Boo calls up as it related to our society’s obsession with people who are famous for not being famous or doing anything special.  Reality TV and the culture started with the talk-shows in the 80s people spilling their souls out to us and our culture being interested in it.  Honey Boo is my criticism of just he show where a 7 year old is entered into beauty contests, made-up to look like a woman and the distortion that this is normal seems like Brain-washing young people into what beauty is to be.

-All your works in this show were done in acrylic on paper, why do you use painting as opposed to other mediums?

SW: The drawings are not all in acrylic on paper only one work has acrylic the rest are made using gouache and/or ink, oil pastels, pencil and collage.  Each can have one or all of these combinations.  The large scale drawing entitled Smoker, I use acrylic to fill the background of my 72+H x 60W paper with but the rest is white gouache/pink mouth. Gouache is an opaque watercolor unforgiving and a challenge in mark making, in that you cannot erase the lines or marks made.  I like that pressure and find it immediate results suitable to my studio practice.

Mutations of Otherness – 05-06-2014 Juror: Shoshanna Weinberger

Artwork by Lemia Bodden

Mutations are the raw materials of evolution. Mutations can be a single or collective. A single mutation can have a large effect that over time duplicates to acquire a new function or form. This can provide the basis for adaptive evolution and survival.

The artists selected for Mutations of Otherness interpret the context of mutation as organic, biological, physical, psychological, political and surreal.

Drawn to the concept of multiples in the structure and tradition of the modernist grid, artist Stefani Quam uses the repetitive size as a control to define the unique with comparatives of chance in her work Ellipses. With the work Untitled, Ellie Hunter, uses mixed media collage in the grid format, reminding us of the variants found in human genetic code system. Both Quam and Hunter have unique marks within each unified shape that contains a generation of difference and as a grid is seen as a whole.

Artwork by Susan Emmerson

In the photographic work of Lemia Bodden and Sasha Andruzheychik, the mutation is the manipulation of the photography. Bodden’s photographs from the series Untitled Couples Project are portraits of couples that allude to the pluralism of a single persona into a mutation of multiple personas. These images visually become physical movement that creates mystery far removed from a typical portrait as they interchange between what appears male and female. The viewer cannot rest on just one feature, as they appear to flip back in forth. Andruzheychik’s work stems from the Surrealist tradition of imagined psychosis that deconstructs and edits information to create a disquieting gaze found in work entitled Fetish Object. These sexual and intimate vignettes of the body are mutated forms that appear to be specimens from an historical cabinet of curiosity.

Artwork by Logan Brody

This history of exploration to uncover unique objects found cabinets of curiosity from exotic worlds extend to exploration in Lauren Levato Coyne’s work. Levato-Coyne’s drawings are imagined self-portraits. Her interest in western-culture’s capture of the “unknown” to create mythos of otherness can be seen in drawing Self Portrait as Thief in the Night, alludes to her own self-invention of otherness. Levato-Coyne’s drawings stay within the borders much like a scientific drawing within the visual border. Susan Emmerson’s ink and gouache drawing entitled Heteroclite II also stays within the border like a contained mass. Emmerson abstracts her own biology creating expanding amoebic shapes that appear to metamorphosize on the paper referencing fluid shapes made of hair, tissue and microorganisms.

Artwork by Cheryl Hochberg

The natural animal world becomes the subject of mutations and is evident in the sculptural work of Michelle Acuff and Cheryl Hochberg. Acuff’s work Surrogate, a seemingly quiet deer stands supporting tangled and multiplied antlers that almost appear like twisted intestines. The work comments on multiple issues, from the industry of controlled farming to genetically modified foods and the side effects found in nature. Hochberg’s work entitled Bertha’s Monster is a combination of nature re-designed as fused animal and human parts. This work is much like an exquisite corpse of outstretched wings, goat head and human legs that appear to crash into the space.

On a smaller sculptural scale, artists, Colby Beutel, Logan Brody and Yareth Fernandez, re-invent through material to create abstract objects. Colby Beutel’s She Shells and He Shells works transform unwanted objects into surreal sculptures. Fusing zippers to create sexualized somewhat playfully menacing forms turning them into almost secretive objects. Logan Brody’s sculpture Untitled (The Shell Game series) hints at the Proterozoic Era, the beginnings or traces of life. Brody’s architectural abstract sculptural piece reveals a human finger being birthed from primal material touching on the mutations found in evolution. In the work of Yareth Fernandez, the evolution of present day consumption is addressed as disparate objects are reinvented and re-imagined into sculptures. Fernandez’s White-spotted Blue Thing lives like a growth existing within the environment, it is un-natural but seemingly we accept it as an adaptable living organism commenting on human excess of mass-produced objects as a mutation of ideology. – Shoshanna Weinberger / May 2014

Showing a Story: Exhibition Layout at WMG

Land on Waddell Road #1 by Charmaine Bee

Land on Waddell Road #1 by Charmaine Bee

With the close of Summer comes the opening of a new photography-focused exhibition cycle at Woman Made Gallery, this time pairing a group show titled the Photographic Self, juried by Carla Williams, along with an invitational exhibit, Michele Fitzsimmons at the Art Institute with Photography by Diane J. Schmidt.

Laying out the artwork for a group show is always a challenge. Various artists of different backgrounds and unique styles can present a problem when attempting to compose an exhibit of aesthetically compatible artworks. With such diversity, we were looking for a common narrative, a communal bond between all the artists’ work that we could explore and divulge.

We started with a question about the medium used— what does a photograph reveal? Photography has the amazing ability to capture the essence of something or someone in an unexpected, fleeting moment. Capturing that moment offers a glance at something that perhaps we wouldn’t have noticed or appreciated otherwise. Photography can expand the definition of self, and create a nontraditional self portrait of the artist and sometimes the spectator too.

A Realization of Truth by Sierra Faye

A Realization of Truth by Sierra Faye

What we found was that each piece had it own story. The physical attributes captured in a photograph reveal internal struggles and revelations. We felt as if the artists shared small autobiographies; nontraditional portraits of their lives.

And what we found among those stories were common themes of hope, fear, pain and struggle. These artists are determined to share their stories the way they want to show them. Through atypical, clever and powerful images, many of the works dispute traditional norms of beauty, Black culture and femininity. They transcend conventional means of expression, often teasing traditions, turning stereotypes on their heads, and challenging societal and cultural norms through innovative and novel means. Each artist has evoked courage through sharing her art and her story.

During our group layout, we saw a strong story line of protest against the limiting and degrading perceptions of women’s beauty and sexuality. Cultural and consumer definitions of beauty often reject what is innate or diverse and instead set an unattainable standard of perfection. Our artists explore these constrictions while examining their relationship with their bodies within and outside of those norms.

The Beauty Mask by Morgan Ford Willingham

The Beauty Mask by Morgan Ford Willingham

One of the artists expanding on this concept is Morgan Ford Willingham’s work Unititled 4 (The Beauty Mask). A self portrait, Willingham’s face and hair are masked in a veil of printed advertisements for beauty products which, as Willingham  explains, “explores how natural beauty is masked by the cosmetics many (women) use every day, and how the language of advertising is absorbed into the subconscious, constantly influencing what women buy and how they perceive themselves.”

Parallel to this conflicting relationship with natural beauty and beauty products, we saw the prominent theme of women’s hair. In particular, photographers Sierra Faye, Johannil Napoleón and Nakeya Brown bring attention a highly contentious issue in the African American community  regarding hair. By focusing on images of hair, these artists pose silent questions concerning what hair says about Black identity and femininity; who defines ‘good hair,’ and with what intension?

A Conversation That Started with Your Eyes and Ended in My Disgrace by Sierra Faye

A Conversation That Started with Your Eyes and Ended in My Disgrace by Sierra Faye

In Faye’s piece,  A Conversation That Started with Your Eyes and Ended in My Disgrace, the two subjects’ painted backs face the viewer. One woman’s hair is natural, and her face is turned to the other woman wearing an ostentatious 17th century style, bleached wig. What is the conversation, what is the judgment made and who is hurt in the exchange?

Obscure Identity by Johannil Napoleón

Obscure Identity by Johannil Napoleón

In Napoleón’s work, titled Obscure Identity,  she explains that “As a Black woman living in a socially constructed society, I am constantly reminded and told that my natural character and physical appearance are negative elements – from my natural afro to the color of my skin. Therefore, instead of having a sense of constant freedom to be who I am as a Black woman, it is interrupted by standards.” Here, the subject’s face is turned away and her natural hair hidden, and instead we can only identify the subject by her straight, blond weave.

Kanekalon on a Fork by Nakeya Brown

Kanekalon on a Fork by Nakeya Brown

Brown’s Kanekalon on a Fork continues the story of Black women’s hair and its strong tie to Black culture and identity. Kanekalon is a synthetic fiber used in many weaves and wigs, and is often advertised to give women a ‘natural hair’ look. By twirling kanekalon around a fork in an act of eating it, Brown is teasing the claims of its ‘natural’ properties, and questioning if there is in fact anything natural about covering a woman’s head with extensions and weaves.

We wanted the artists to feel their work is strengthened through the process of exhibition layout, and for the audience to be able appreciate the themes, messages and artistic creativity so that they may be inspired to continue exploring these stories themselves.

Exhibition Layout_Photographic Self

Installation shot of WMG’s exhibition, The Photographic Self

The invitational exhibition in the gallery’s lower level is a series of images created collaboratively in 1981 by Michele Fitzsimmons and Diane J. Schmidt. The photographs in the exhibition, which were digitally imaged and printed by Peter Jones using the original black and white contact sheets, show Michele Fitzsimmons posing nude throughout the galleries of The Art Institute. These images originate from a larger series, titled ‘The Chicago Exhibition,’ in which Schmidt photographed Fitzsimmons in over 60 Chicago public spaces, over the course of six years.

Michele Fitzsimmons at the Art Institute

Michele Fitzsimmons at the Art Institute

In these snapshots, Fitzsimmons is no longer just a spectator of the museum, but a piece of artwork herself. Her interactions are natural, her poses relaxed, and the mostly black and white photos evoke nostalgia and introspective peacefulness.

Michele Fitzsimmons at the WMG

Michele Fitzsimmons at her opening reception

Fitzsimmons’s inspiration for this endeavor came from her reoccurring nightmare in which she would awake, horrified, from dreams of being the only naked person in school. Reliving her nightmare of public nudity became Fitzsimmons’s personal theme  in this artistic excursion, and Schmidt’s photograpy reveals these repeated transcendent moments.

For Diane J. Schmidt, the project held more symbolic implications. She writes “I wanted to make a humanist statement about how a woman feels naked in the city, not just a disembodied art nude or a fashion model. Michele brought her theatrical sensibilities and I my street-shooting esthetic.”

Gwynneth VanLaven and admirers

Gwynneth VanLaven and admirers

The artists gathered to celebrate the exhibitions’ opening on Friday, September 6th, and those present included Michele Fitzsimmons along with printer Peter Jones, Grace Aneiza Ali, Kayla Anderson, Pilar Arthur-Snead, Nona Faustine, Sierra Faye, Jessica Van Fleteren, Zoraida Lopez, Qiana Mestrich, Johannil Napoleón, Niki Nolin, Kristin Reeves, MahlOt Sansosa,  Amy Misurelli Sorensen, Jennifer Tiner, Gwynneth VanLaven, and Catherine Walker.

–Helen Celewicz, Gallery Intern

“Women Working in Clay” and “State of G/Race” by Sapphire and Crystals

State of G/Race Opening

State of G/Race Opening on November 9, 2012

20 Years Strong: Women Working in Clay | Sapphire and Crystals: State of G/Race | November 9 – December 23, 2012

In celebration of WMG’s 20th Anniversary, we are hosting two fabulous exhibitions: “State of G/Race” with work by Sapphire and Crystals, a collective of professional African American women artists in Chicago, and “20 Years Strong: Women Working in Clay” on display at the lower level of the Gallery.

"Women Working in Clay" Opening with Gail Holmberg, Linda Hillman and Joan Friedberger in front of Virginia Scotchie's ceramic wall installation.

“Women Working in Clay” Opening with Gail Holmberg, Linda Hillman and Joan Friedberger in front of Virginia Scotchie’s ceramic wall installation.

20 Years Strong: Women Working in Clay includes work by 21 clay artists from all over the U.S. The show demonstrates the varied and powerful contributions women ceramic artists make to the art world. Entries were curated by Linda Hillman, a ceramics artist who holds a B.A. in Art and Art History, a M.S. in Visual Communication from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and a M.S. in Applied Linguistics from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

In her curatorial statement, Linda Hillman writes: “My vision has been to showcase the conceptual strength, beauty, and skill women demonstrate in their ceramic work—the contemporary vessel, the quotidian pot, sculpture, and figuration. It is a big goal and women’s contributions to the art world are wider than this show can accommodate. However, ‘Women Working in Clay’ is a tribute to women who have forged a place for themselves and others in ceramics.

”Included are ceramic works by Mary Barringer, Meredith Brickell, Linda Christianson, Anne Currier, Andrea Gill, Silvie Granatelli, Jan McKeachie Johnston, Gail Kendall, Eva Kwong, Winnie Owens-Hart, Donna Polseno, Angelica Pozo, Liz Quackenbush, Annabeth Rosen, Virginia Scotchie, Ellen Shankin, Linda Sikora, Sandy Simon, Susanne Stephenson, Jerilyn Virden, and Paula Colton Winokur.

A State of G/Race is a group exhibition  featuring art by Sapphire and Crystals, a collective of professional African American women artists in Chicago who are celebrating their 25th Anniversary. It includes new art work addressing the theme, and a collaborative altar installation.

"State of G/Race" OpeningJoyce Owens (right) with Shyvette Williams

“State of G/Race” Opening
Joyce Owens (right) with Shyvette Williams

Conceived initially by Marva Pitchford Jolly and Felicia Grant Preston, the idea that women artists of African descent produce their own shows resulted in the collective’s first exhibition at the historic South Side Community Art Century (SSCAC) in 1987, with the second exhibition following at Nicole Gallery in Chicago’s River North in 1988. Throughout its 25 year history Sapphire and Crystals has held exhibitions at many galleries and art centers within the city and beyond. The individual personal work by each member addressing various themes such as race and gender, limited palettes, and honoring their pasts, exemplifies the diversity within the group. The signature self-portrait silent auction takes bids during the opening reception and presents affordable collecting opportunities for visitors on the first night only. The collaborative site-specific altar installation is an exhibit feature distinct to this collective.

Curator, Joyce Owens earned a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. A professor of painting and drawing at Chicago State University, she also curates for the two on-campus galleries. Owens has been sought out to jury fine art exhibitions and art fairs at the Museum of Science and Industry, The DuSable Museum, the Women’s Caucus for Art and The Wells Street Art Fair to name a few. Owens serves on the Advisory Committee for the Department of Cultural Affair’s Chicago Artists Month since 2002. She consults with the Chicago Artists Coalition, and is on the Advisory Board of Woman Made Gallery. Owens is an associate editor for The Journal of African American History.

Included are works in a variety of media by Rose Blouin, Makeba Kedem Dubose, Juarez Hawkins, Renee Williams Jefferson, Marva Pitchford Jolly, Joyce Owens, Felicia Grant Preston, Joanne Scott, Patricia Stewart, Dorian Sylvain, Shirley J. Sullivan, Pearlie Taylor, Arlene Turner-Crawford, Rhonda Wheatley, Shahar Caren Weaver, and Shyvette Williams.

Sapphire and Crystals will be hosting a special event on December 15th from 12 to 5 p.m. which includes a fine art sale and a film screening in honor and memory of Marva Jolly who recently passed away. Mudpeoples: A Portrait of Clay Artist Marva Jolly, by Shuli Eshel will be shown at 2:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

 

During the opening reception on November 9th I had the pleasure of viewing amazing art by so many talented individuals, individuals that you would be proud to know. These women show incredible diversity and integrity in their work. I can only hope to one day be as established and accomplished as they are.

"State of G/Race" Openingwith artwork by Patricaa Stewart

“State of G/Race” Opening
with artwork by Patricia Stewart

-Lola Ogbara, Gallery Intern

“The Project” Reading

On Sunday, October 7th Woman Made sponsored a poetry reading in association with our current gallery exhibition, The Project.  Curated by Nina Corwin, the event joined a group of interdisciplinary and collaborative performers presenting written word in conjunction with music, video, and movement.

(left to right) Jenna Lyle and Tyler Mills

Approximately 30 attentive guests enjoyed writers and performers Carrie Olivia Adams, Robin Fine/Sandra Santiago, Charlotte Hart, Virginia Konchan/Tyler Mills/Jenna Lyle, and Anne Shaw/Robert McClure.

Drawing from her book, Organic Spirits, Charlotte Hart evoked the essence of the natural world. Supplementing her poetry with rye and orange liquor, Hart engaged the audience in a fully sensory experience.  A performance by Carrie Olivia Adams successfully married film and the written word.  A video piece depicting slides of old medical x-rays provided visual evidence of the poet’s inspiration. In a dynamic spoken word collaboration, Robin Fine and Sandra Santiago called for the reestablishment of accepted female body norms. An exploration of sound proved an integral and intriguing component in the work of Anne Shaw.  The poets voice was layered over a prerecorded audio track played at sporadic intervals. The interplay between audio and text was further exposed by Virginia Konchan, Tyler Mills, and Jenna Lyle. Sound art composed from vivid poetic imagery generated a pulsating, multidimensional experience.

-Holly Bresnahan, Gallery Intern