The Riddle of How to Vanish Well
Remembrance wonders what it is like to be forced to learn the mechanism of vanishing under the pressure of large public forces and private action, to know how to unbind one's self from the illusion of acknowledgment and recognition, and yet, to hold on to one's own sense of authority especially as it pertains to women in the arts.
In a selection that is personal albeit fragmentary in the way a poem can be, like little flashes of connection to time and history, Marisa Merz, the sole woman in the Arte Povera movement (a working mother-artist), photographer Laura Aguilar (Chicana, large-bodied, working-class, queer), and feminist protest artist Sanja Ivekovic (Triangle, 1979) are chosen as representatives of the lack of institutional attention paid to female artists despite the fact that the respective bodies of work of these particular artists helped shape our current understanding of identity and preconfiguration of roles and gender in art.
“There has never been any division between my life and my work,” they said, self-reflexively. Yet, their stance proved to be both too provocative and too limiting. Blending art and life by often blurring categorization (while working with both traditional and non-traditional materials) they opened themselves up to unwarranted criticism: the work feels too emotional, she can’t think, she is emotional, out of control, crazy.
Remembrance aims to refocus the attention on this "female" visual language that grounds the art and the artist into a lived reality as opposed to making rudimentary claims on artistic merits. In a complicated search for direction, formally, each piece is based on Matisse's Bathers by a River. Faceless, columnar figures with ovoid heads are rendered in a restricted palette against a severely abstracted. What makes this series all the most daring is the intentional infusion of the collage technique, which in this case combines an extreme of abstraction with readable figurative images, with the "floating" sensibility of Ukiyo-e paintings rendered strictly in digital form.
- Visual Influences
Utagawa Hiroshige - Known as the last great master in Japanese traditional woodblock printing, imbuing the Japanese landscape with a lyricism that drew upon the fleeting nature of sensual pleasure combined with bright colors and attention to the passing of time, he became a strong influence on Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters as well as Art Nouveau design.
Barbara Shaw - The process of cutting, pinning, and stitching are repeated until the artist is happy with the piece. She uses fabrics like painterly brush strokes, hand-stitching each carefully selected scrap together to retain texture.