Threads That Bind: Elucidating Diverse Voices of WomanhoodFebruary 25 - July 30, 2023 Admission
Threads That Bind offers a new lens into the complex visual history of Women’s Work. Through a diverse range of mediums, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, and a challenging representation of textiles, this show aims to reframe traditional gender norms and offer a fresh, empowering perspective on what it means to be a woman artist.
The history of Women’s Work is vast, contradictory, and culturally problematic. Artistic products such as quilts, needlework, porcelain painting, and painted miniatures were created by women as representative of their sex. However, these forms were characteristically left out of the art historical canon. Thus, women were held to a standard of creativity that was not allowed into the larger discourse because it was seen as a “lesser” form of art. The irony of this same expectation is that it worked the opposite way as well. Women artists who boldly stretched outside the scope of patriarchal womanhood were then ostracized by their improper representation of their sex. Womanhood in terms of art was regulated to a critical domain that did not allow aggressive, angular brushstrokes, large canvases, or sculptures, and yet, overt emotions, representations of women’s lives, and women’s work were inherently dismissed as “less than.” This exhibition aims to represent the duality of womanhood and the individuals that dare to challenge our view of what it means to be a woman artist.
The women within this show call out these expectations and assert the feminine as a declaration of their own voice as individuals, and as a collective. The jarring emotions of a Weeping Giant, stripped bare, humanizes, and breaks the gendered perception of emotions and empowers the balancing act of Grin and Bear It. The precision of Linda Connor’s meticulously placed shells over the face of Botticelli’s boldly sexualized Birth of Venus accentuates the daring and decisive strokes of Helen Frankenthaler. The stitched fabric of Donna Sharrett’s father’s shirts after he passed, memorializes sentimentality and quilting as heroic in size and presentation. Ruth Borgenicht’s Cubed Rings subverts the masculine, protective quality, and form of chain mail with delicate ceramic links. This diverse collection of Women’s Work articulates an intricately woven community of women artists who subvert, reclaim, and redefine the voice of womanhood.