We asked our MFA in Visual Art students for their top summer reading picks!
Seeing America: Women Photographers Between the World Wars – Melissa A. McEuen, Ph.D
A meticulously researched, insightful, and thoroughly entertaining look at five women photographers who captured American History better than any others during the inter-war period.
Jaime Tamrakar, 2nd semester
The Body Silent – Robert F. Murphy
For anyone interested in health issues—Murphy, an anthropologist, recounts his medical diagnosis and decline in physical mobility due to an inoperable spinal tumor. He uses social, political, and educational perspectives to describe the experiences of the sick or disabled population.
On Photography – Susan Sontag
Published in 1977, Sontag’s philosophical observations and theories are surprisingly hyper-relevant in today’s image obsessed society. Overall, Sontag provides a collection of essays that make the reader question the purposes and intentions of photography—what is worthy of being photographed?
Jessica Stratton, 2nd semester
Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity – José Esteban Muñoz
Cruising Utopia is a future-looking language of hope that dwells in the not-yet-here. It’s a language where potentiality is located in the ornamental, where queerness promises and proposes glimpses of worlds in the realm of the aesthetic—a realm where future social relations are mapped. Very inspiring!
Aaron Hoge, 2nd semester
Believing is Seeing – Errol Morris
An analytical exploration of artistic intentions found in certain famous photographs.
Ben Metzger, 2nd semester
So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo
It is a bare bones proper discussion about race. In a voice that is serious and funny, intelligent, witty…and genuine. A really good read.
Kevin Gilmore, 3rd semester
Participation – Documents of Contemporary Art, Whitechapel
If your undergraduate experience was anything like mine, you probably didn’t get a lot of time to discuss contemporary performance, participation, or installation art. Participation is a great introductory book to help bring you up to speed with contemporary theory, ideologies, and approaches to performance art.
American Art of the 20th-21st Centuries – Erika Doss
This book gives a wide overview of contemporary art, practices, and approaches. Its a great way to start your research and develop an understanding for where your art practice fits within the larger creative field.
Naomi Even-Aberle, 3rd semester
The Spell of the Sensuous – David Abram
Vibrant Matter – Jane Bennet
Lisa Blackburn, 4th semester
Cauleen Smith is an interdisciplinary filmmaker whose work is rooted in a mid-twentieth century experimental film framework. She uses science fiction, third world cinema, and structuralism, to make “things that deploy the tactics of these disciplines while offering a phenomenological experience for spectators and participants.” Her work has shown nationally and internationally, both solo and in group exhibitions. Originally born in southern California, she was raised in Sacramento. She earned her bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University and her MFA from UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Currently, she is faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts low-residency MFA program.
This interview was conducted via email in November 2017.
Jazmyn Wright: How did you discover your interest in filmmaking? Did you ever want to do anything else?
Cauleen Smith: Filmmaking incorporates every kind of media and performance style and invents a few that are unique to its form. It’s very satisfying to use film to make art. I’ve always been a creative person, but filmmaking was something I stumbled on. I’m glad I did.
JW: Do you describe yourself as a feminist filmmaker? What does feminist filmmaking mean to you?
CS: The word feminist is a loaded term because when white women use the term they sometimes are not considering the conditions and stakes of a feminist identity for women of color or poor women or women with varying abilities. And this prompts a lot of people to avoid the word feminist. I’m fine with the word. It’s just a word. It’s all about action and ethics.
JW: You clearly identify what feminism means to you, I just wanted to clarify whether you had a specific definition for feminist filmmaking? Do you see a difference between a feminist film and other types of films? Do you think a film has to include specific elements to be considered feminist?
CS: Maybe for a set of guidelines check out the Bechdel test? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechdel_test
JW: Would you describe yourself as an experimental filmmaker? How do you define experimental filmmaking?
CS: Yes, experimental filmmaking is a discipline and practice that operates through questions and forms and structures rather than narratives and characters and plot. This is not to say that experimental films don’t have those things, simply to say that in experimental film the narrative, character and plot do not determine the form of the film. Editing, color, materials, and sound become subjects in and of themselves in experimental film.
JW: Where do your ideas for your films come from, for example Crow Requiem?
CS: I think filmmaking is always about engaging with the world around us. The cues to the things that Crow Requiem is pointing to are right there in the film as well as in the films relationship to American history.
JW: You say the “things that “Crow Requiem” is pointing to are right there in the film.” The film is kind of dark. Between the bare trees and the crows and other aspects, the first thing my mind goes to is “Strange Fruit” and lynching in the Jim Crow south, but that might be a little too grim. Can you expound a little more?
CS: Some elements in the film that may not be obvious are the radio still lives which are taken from John Carpenter’s movie The Fog (listed in the credits). The aesthetics of that film spoke directly to the images coming from protests in Ferguson, MO. There is a lot of information to be gleaned from the soundtrack and music as well (also listed in the credits).
JW: What is your filmmaking process? For example, once you had the idea for “Demon Fuzz”, a film I particularly enjoyed for its geometric visuals, how did you go about creating it?
CS: Oh, I just made that for fun as a fan video. I love that band Demon Fuzz and that song is amazing. So it was just fun to use the mirror filter and make something hypnotic and light. I think the mirror filter is overused all the time, so that video is a bit of an indulgence.
JW: In “Triangle Trade” you do not hide the puppeteers. What is the significance? Is it meant to be self-reflexive?
CS: We are using a puppeteering style based on the Bunraku style of puppeteering. Each artist made a puppet that was supposed to represent them. The audience is asked to reckon with the mirroring between the puppet and the operator.
JW: You mention the Bunraku style of puppeteering. As I understand it Bunraku is a 17th century traditional style of Japanese puppet theater. Is there anything else that should be known about it to better understand the piece?
CS: The reason I made them is because I thought that film was a good form for the ideas I was interested in. In order to grapple with the ideas you would have to watch the films with the intent of applying what can be known to what you see. The narrative is not repeated in simple language, three times like in television shows. There is no spoon-feeding. The viewer is assumed to be an active agent.
JW: In a 2011 interview with “BOMB Magazine” you said, “narrative-movie audiences are becoming more passive; they’re refusing to meet images halfway.” Can you expound? What does it mean to meet an image halfway?
CS: I feel that audiences should always be attempting to understand the aesthetic and formal decisions that a filmmaker is using to make meaning. The desire to have everything explained, unambiguous and easily digestible limits the spectator from actually engaging with the ideas in a way that leads to self-examination. I believe that expecting every film image to be explained and clear, well that is more like wanting to consume advertising or propaganda than art. That’s a spectator who wants to be told things and experience pleasure. Sometimes wrestling with ideas is not immediately pleasurable. And often art shows us things about ourselves that we do not like. Advertising and propaganda never do this. Art cannot tell someone what to think, it can offer pathways and ideas for the viewer.
JW: Experimental films can be ambiguous at times. With your last response in mind, when making a film such as “Chronicles Of A Lying Spirit By Kelly Gabron”, do you want your audience to walk away with a specific understanding, or do you want them to interpret it for themselves?
CS: Hopefully both things can happen.
JW: It was enjoyable getting to converse with you and learn more about your work and filmmaking process and thank you again for participating in this interview.
CS: Thank you, and best of luck.
To see more of Cauleen Smith’s work, you can connect to her Vimeo via this link.
Planetary Psalms: New paintings by Dana Wigdor and Jasmine Ruulze, curated by Diedra Kruger
December 18, 2017 – March 16, 2018
3711 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Monday – Friday 9-5
or by appointment
Thursday, January 25th, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Gallery 3711 is pleased to present “Planetary Psalms” of earthly delights and extraterrestrial musings – an exhibition of new paintings by Jasmine Ruulze and Dana Wigdor, curated by Diedra Krieger.
Ruulze’s paintings explore the interrelationships of the circle of life and creatures of the “wild” while Wigdor’s paintings take us on an interplanetary journey where an unseen “creature”, or presence ushers the viewer through the darkness and color of deep space. They are doing imaginative work, both invoking lyrical images; Ruulze’s of the natural world’s intersection with itself, and Wigdor’s of an encounter with an unseen presence that radiates as bursts of light.
Their sense of play and wonder draws us in. Do Re Mi! They take us on a journey with things we think we know and make them unfamiliar in order to provoke us. Indulgent perhaps, necessary for sure, they invite us to reflect back on our very existence as creatures within the material and ethereal world.
Painting serves both artists as the medium of choice to best express their ideas. They are in love with the medium: Wigdor with the luxe, multi-layered surface of an oil painting, applying layer after layer of thick brushwork and sanding it down, works her canvases to find their inner creatures; Rockwell with the quickness of gouache in combination with pencil drawings and markers, draws and paints, releasing for us again and again the myriad images of her active imagination.
Wigdor’s painting, “More Than You Know”, starts her series with a lift-off from a cobalt and violet light drenched glacial landscape – the starting place of this emotional, intergalactic journey. Each painting depicts either a solitary planet, or galaxy-like cluster which hovers and connects the viewer to the familiar cosmos of our place in the solar system. Like a solar wind, the sequential paintings are a journey through planes of color and paint spatterings of celestial matter.
Dana Wigdor earned her BFA from The San Francisco Art Institute in 1990, and her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2008. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally including San Francisco, New York, Moscow, and Berlin. In 2004 she received a National Endowment for the Arts Creation Grant to produce her solo exhibition “Fugue”. The Fleming Museum and the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center both featured her artist’s talk “The Anthropomorphic Machine” where Wigdor introduced the mystifying creatures that populate her work.
Wigdor states, “Paint is a perfect medium for capturing the invisible forces that surround us – where color and light build a bridge between what is tangible and the elusive place ‘beyond’. This can be understood as outer space, as heaven, as after life, or more abstractly, as simply somewhere out there.”
Wild creatures big and small as well as flora and fauna provide ritual imagery for Jasmine Ruulze’s day dreams and personal mythology. The symbols and stories of birds, snakes and countless other animals, plants and nature from all over the world fascinate her. A deer’s ear with the sun shining down makes the ear transparent, the veins in the ear shine through, creating a pattern which some leaves, plants and insects mimic. She is mesmerized by these details; everything is related on this earth. This reality allows quite the exploration of interpretation in this series of paintings.
Jasmine says she has always had and still has a very active imagination, and just naturally applied that to image making. Growing up in the Adirondack mountains, more or less isolated from anyone her age, Jasmine would explore the land and make up stories in her head. Painting and drawing became the way she told the stories that she had imagined. Today Jasmine still lives in this world created by her own imagination and painting is the interpretation: it is her preferred language.
Jasmine says: “If I could live in the work I would. I have always compared my thoughts to a slide projector that is going very fast and clicking image by image at a rapid pace, I cannot turn my brain off. I am a creature driven by everything I have ever seen, conversations I have had and if other creatures are interested in what I am making then I am flattered and invite them to take the images in and create what they want out of them.”
Jasmine Ruulze creates psychedelic voyages using gouache and markers on paper. She has been creating for over 20 years, finding herself in many locations physically, mentally and emotionally. She gets her inspiration from nature, social context, history, family, friends, culture, literature and music. She has attended many artist residencies and is very actively showing her work, past and present. Ruulze lives and works in the South.
Diedra Krieger is an intermedia artist and curator working at the intersection of art and engineering. Her ongoing project Plastic Fantastic, a geodesic dome built from 6000 water bottles, is an immersive environment for play. Diedra has an MFA from VCFA and an MA from Monash University in developmental studies, and coordinates projects and outreach for Kod*lab, a legged robotics lab and subsidiary of GRASP Lab, Penn Engineering.
White Columns Online ‘Stomach Acid Reflux’ curated by Ellie Rines
Stomach Acid Reflux, an online inventory that deals with the human body in a way that is somehow both grotesque and formally elegant.
Traditional themes–still life, formal abstraction–and traditional composition–symmetry, etc…– i.e. artistic practice of control is confounded by dysfunction and absurdity. Fake vomit on a scale, ketchup packets’ portrait, tits with nips carved out, tissuebox architecture, spray foam can ejaculation, dairy still life– all direct or subliminal hints to the disgusting bodily fluids resulting from the things we love and hate – sex, bodies, food. Everyday encounters, formalities, objects and commodities become subject to ridicule and admiration, sublimation and disgrace. Juxtapositions ferment and become putrid.
Sophia S Narett painstakingly needlepoints elaborate scenes from fantasy and illusion. In Something Went Wrong, orgies are juxtaposed to a series of women aimlessly wandering in ball gowns, a dead naked women lying on a fish tank. The composition is structured around crumbling architecture, barbed wire and a flank of female figures observing in confusion, disgust and ridicule.
Kurt Treeby knits an architectural model of Prentice Women’s Hospital then turns it into what feels like a beer coozy for a tissue box.
Linda King Ferguson’s surgical cuts yield formal absences. Though reminiscent of Lygia Clark or Polly Apfelbaum, the painting counteracts the joy of the colors with a sloughing off.
Diana Kingsley ’s dairy still life in a pink background. Entitling the work Well-rounded Wives evokes the low-level despair and boredom beneath the surface of a kitchen. Lactose overload.
Jennifer Sullivan features faux glitter vomit on a painted weight scale. Theatrical, humorous and a bit sinister. From a “revenge body” series — the tableau lives up to the title.
Amy J Kligman ketchup packet still life. Curiously bulbous. Employing immense detail similar to the way Narrett does but much more laconic.
Robert Rhee in Coral uses a spray foam can to create a bizarre yellow foam shape. Rhee discusses “rubber necking” in his artist statement. This could have been another title for my online selection of works — looking at something gross and candid out of habit and curiosity.
Participating artists include:
Linda King Ferguson
Amy J Kligman
Sophia S Narrett
Ellie Rines is founder of 56 Henry gallery and a director of Ceysson & Bénétière.
For more information: registry.whitecolumns.org
featured image: Linda King Ferguson
Equivalence 60, 2016
Acrylic and stain
28 x 28 inches
Courtesy of the artist
In Galleries One & Two
Western Exhibitions is thrilled to present a two-part solo exhibition, Un-Natural Parables, by pioneering feminist artist Faith Wilding. In Gallery 1, the gallery will present Natural Parables, a body of work last exhibited in 1985; large watercolor/drawing hybrids paired with oil-on-panel paintings shaped like pods. In Gallery 2 will be a new series of mixed-media watercolor paintings, Paraguay: Republica de la Soya, that reflect on the artist’s recent on-the-ground research into her birth country’s ongoing ecological crises. The show opens on Friday, November 3 with a reception from 5 to 8pm. The following day, Saturday, November 4, Wilding will be joined in conversation at the gallery by Shannon Stratton, the William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator at the Museum of Art and Design (NYC) at 4pm. Both the reception and the gallery talk are free and open to the public.
In 1941 Faith Wilding’s parents Edith and Harry Barron emigrated to Paraguay as members of the Bruderhof Anabaptist commune. Here, in a rural Bruderhof settlement, Wilding would be born and grow up with a rich relationship to a verdant environment, coupled with a communal upbringing where literature and music were as readily taught as animal husbandry and agriculture. Wilding has long mined this childhood in her work, grateful for a youth that was rich in community and ingenuity, but also deeply resistant to the strict gender norms and roles imposed by an otherwise quite radical Christian sect.
While well recognized for her early work co-organizing and exhibiting in Womanhouse and then later for her collaborative work with subRosa, Wilding’s robust painting and drawing practice has only recently been revisited. Truly the backbone of her practice, Wilding’s vivid works on paper often use imagery from nature as a metaphor for transformation. Her interest in exploring specific ideas of women’s transformation is as prominent as her inquiry into the metamorphosis of the natural world through human intervention and destruction. Wilding’s life-long examination of the body as political site and nature as political site marries an instinctive desire to reveal the ways in which humanity and the natural world are co-dependent. Her consistent commentary on humankind’s exploitation of the natural world and its subsequent weaponization anticipated art’s contemporary consideration of the Anthropocene as critical subject matter.
For Un-Natural Parables, Western Exhibitions will exhibit for the first time since 1985 Wilding’s Natural Parables series, originally produced in 1982 and last exhibited in Los Angeles. This work marked the culmination of years of Wilding’s early research into female mythologies, paganism, English Romantic poetry, illuminated herbals, bestiaries, alchemical manuscripts and female imagery. At the time she was seeking to create her own system of representation and illustrate an interconnection between beliefs, mythologies, dreams and fantasy worlds. Forty years later, Wilding made Paraguay: Republica de la Soya, a series that responds to the wanton destruction of Paraguay’s dense forests, verdant campos, meandering swamps and waterways through massive mono-cropping of GMO soy. With the help of an Art Matters grant, Wilding traveled back to Paraguay for the first time since emigrating in 1961 to study botanical collections and gardens. The resulting works on paper are part of a larger memoir project that Wilding is currently completing that reflects on her upbringing and her complex relationship to it.
Un-Natural Parables marries two distinct time periods in Wilding’s practice, connecting yet book-ending her early exploration and development of a feminist vernacular with the political concerns that emerged as part of a cyber-feminist practice that delved into reproductive biotech, labor, science and global capitalism. These two bodies of work are linked by Wilding’s continuous, sumptuous watercolor practice where captivating imagery and rich color vividly portray the fundamental inter-connection between humanity and the environment. This melding of the body with the earth through layering of washes, pencil, text, woven paper and occasionally collage, intensifies a message of connection, but also complicity – making it clear that environmental politics is not a “special interest”, but the politics of survival.
Faith Wilding is Professor Emerita of performance art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a graduate faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a visiting scholar at the Pembroke Center, Brown University. Born in Paraguay, Wilding received her BA from the University of Iowa and her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Wilding was a co-initiator of the Feminist Art Programs in Fresno and at Cal Arts, and she contributed “Crocheted Environment” and her “Waiting” performance piece to the historic Womanhouse exhibition.
Her work has been exhibited extensively over the last five decades including the seminal survey WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, organized by Cornelia Butler, which traveled from the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles) to the National Museum of Women (Washington DC), PS1 Contemporary Art Center (Long Island), and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Additionally, Wilding’s work has been exhibited at Reina Sofia Museum (Madrid); Centre for Contemporary Arts (Glasgow); Bronx Museum of Art (New York); The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York); the Armand Hammer Museum (Los Angeles); The Drawing Center (New York); Documenta X (Kassel); the Singapore Art Museum. Publications include By Our Own Hands: The History of the Women Artists Movement in Southern California, 1970-76 (Double X, 1977) and Domain Errors! Cyberfeminist Practices! (Autonomedia, 2003). Wilding was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2009 and has been the recipient of two individual media grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2014, she was awarded the prestigious Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award. Most recently, her work was included in Fiber: Sculpture 1960 to Present exhibition that originated at the ICA in Boston; her Crocheted Environment, 1972/1995, was shown in Art_Textiles at The Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, England (and it graced the cover of the catalog); she currently has work in Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A., organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, as part ofPacific Standard Time: LA/LA, up until December 31, 2017.
Faith Wilding’s work was recently the subject of a traveling retrospective, Fearful Symmetries, that featured a selection of works from her studio practice spanning the past forty years, highlighting a range of works on paper – drawings, watercolors, collage and paintings – exhibited together for the first time. Curated by Shannon Stratton and first presented at Threewalls in Chicago, the show traveled to Houston, Memphis and Los Angeles, where it was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly and received a Critic’s Pick in Artforum. This is her first show at Western Exhibitions and her first in Chicago since the retrospective opened in 2014. Wilding lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island.
1709 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622 USA
[email protected] Gallery hours
Tuesday thru Saturday
11am to 6pm
The MFA in Visual Art program at Vermont College of Fine Arts is calling for emerging artists to participate in an upcoming online video festival called immigration | imagination.
The video exhibition will be juried by artist, curator, and MFA in Visual Art faculty member Việt Lê with support from VCFA. This is an opportunity for emerging visual artists with or without an MFA to participate in this unique online video festival.
The immigration | imagination exhibition asks artists to share their creative, critical, and community practices in response to the policing of borders and the ongoing vestiges of violence. Read more about the festival and theme on the submission page.
The submission deadline is Friday, December 8, 2017. Submissions must be no longer than six minutes in length. If an artist is submitting an excerpt, the complete piece must be no longer than 15 minutes. Only one submission per artist or collaborative group will be accepted. Submissions are accepted here.
Lê, who will jury the submissions, is a groundbreaking artist whose work has been featured in venues throughout the world. He has also published several books and anthologies. Based in Los Angeles, Lê is an Assistant Professor of Visual Studies at California College of Arts in addition to his faculty position at VCFA.
The immigration | imagination online video festival will debut on VCFA’s MFA in Visual Art program Vimeo page on January 5, 2018 at 4 p.m. Selected applicants also be included in the Pitzer College Art Gallery “Manifesto” exhibition in Southern California, which will take place January 20-March 23, 2018.
For more information on the online video festival, contact Thatiana Oliveira at [email protected] or (802) 828-8636.
11th Annual Holiday Mini Exhibit at Ghost Gallery in Seattle.
“not afraid of…
After being confronted last autumn with some very scary things, I started drawing images which named things I was NOT afraid of, in order to help calm myself and restore my sense of safety and power. The boxwood wreath is always the first drawn element, providing a safe circle to begin in. In the spirit of a tarot deck, this series now is named only with Roman numerals, since I hope that your individual interpretation will lead to meanings which have resonance with your current moment.”
“I’m a discourse surfer in theater, dance, film, and visual art. I do production design and set decoration for motion pictures, design sets for live performance as well as create title sequences. I draw and paint, and lately have started to learn how to bend neon. I enjoy collaboration. I believe that when they censor our words, visual art will be our path of resistance.”
The Ghost Gallery project was founded in December 2006 by independent curator/event planner Laurie Kearney. She has curated and hosted art exhibits, auctions, benefits and music events at various venues over the past 11 years including the Pretty Parlor, Solo Bar, Saint John’s Bar & Eatery, Stylus Salon & Spa, Neumos, McLeod Residence, Rocco’s in Belltown, Capitol Hill Block Party, Havana, Edie’s Shoes and more.
Ghost Gallery acquired a unique brick & mortar space in Capitol Hill in April 2010. Come visit us! There is no entrance fee to see exhibits on view.
504 E Denny Way -look for the Pac-Man Arcade Park at Olive/E Denny!
(ENTER THROUGH GATE NEXT TO HILLCREST MARKET)
Tue by Appt
Not Afraid Of: II
ink, acrylic on acid-free vellum
framed to 5″ x 7″
Thais Mather: Reckless Abandon
November 24, 2017-February 18, 2018
Reckless Abandon Events
Opening Reception | Friday, November 24, 2017 from 5-7 pm — RSVP on Facebook
Reckless Abandon: A Reading | Saturday, November 25, 2-3 pm — RSVP on Facebook
Reckless Abandon: Performance | Friday, December 15, 5-7 pm — RSVP on Facebook
“I think people are getting these catastrophic feelings, that this is the end,” says Thais Mather. “I don’t believe in that. I think this is a beginning.” The feminist artist’s new exhibition, Reckless Abandon, comes at a time of cultural, political and environmental upheaval. It’s an ideal moment to examine human history from a revolutionary stance—and present urgent questions that can reveal a new path forward. Through a monumental art installation and a series of performances and events, Mather will challenge viewers to abandon patriarchal structures in favor of a transcendent vision for humanity. Reckless Abandon opens at form & concept in Santa Fe on Friday, November 24, 2017, and runs through February 18, 2018.
“I’m really contemplating humanity: how culture began, where we are now, and where that might evolve,” says Mather. Reckless Abandon comprises hundreds of artworks that will fill form & concept’s ground floor, tracing thousands of years of natural and human history. Mather’s explorations for the show started with a series of large, intricate woodblock prints depicting octopuses, snakes, tarantulas and other creatures. These animals were traditionally vilified by humans because their anatomy is so different from our own, and because their consciousness seems alien. “They are considered ‘total others,’” says Mather. “I’m connecting these themes to the ways in which women have been misunderstood and colonized because we are always foreigners in our own land.”
From this departure point, Mather has created a number of large-scale installations that incorporate ceramics, videos, drawings and other media. Reckless Abandon is a culmination of Mather’s artistic experience thus far. She grew up in Santa Fe, and got her degree in printmaking from the University of Montana in 2006. In 2011, she enrolled as an MFA student at Vermont College of Fine Arts. There, her focus shifted from technical expertise to conceptual rigor as she studied installation, social practice and critical theory. Prominent feminist artists Faith Wilding and Michelle Dizon became her mentors.
After returning to Santa Fe in 2013, Mather furthered her studies of feminist theory and incorporated what she was learning in the bodies of work Wonder Bitch and The Anonymous Author. She exhibited both series in solo exhibitions in Houston, Texas, but initially struggled to find an audience for her work in the famous art market of her hometown. form & concept Gallery Director Frank Rose offered Mather an exhibition in fall 2016, and she’s been hard at work ever since.
“Thais’ multidisciplinary approach was a perfect fit for us,” says Rose. “We look for artists who are open to crossing perceived barriers between art, craft and design in service of powerful storytelling. Thais combs through eons of visual history, and emerges with imagery that disrupts entrenched narratives.”
Reckless Abandon is Mather’s first major show in Santa Fe, though she hesitates to call it a solo exhibition—at least in a traditional sense. “I feel like the concept of the male genius artist presenting his solo magnum opus is a Greenbergian farce. Everything you create is influenced by other artists, by your mentors, by your relationships, by the music and literature you adore.” Mather says. She’s working with a number of feminist artists to present a series of performances in the space, and also considers gallery visitors to be collaborators when they cross the show’s threshold. The exhibition will evolve through these contributions and interactions, inspiring community members to return multiple times and experience new surprises. Inspired by the magical realist movement, Mather aims to weave moments of enchanting transformation into everyday life.
“Reckless Abandon is a call to action, not just for us to treat one another and our planet with care, but also for us to abandon what we think we know, in order to create a life of magic in the next phase of our evolution,” says Mather. The artist will answer her own challenge by donating the proceeds of several artworks from the show to nonprofit organizations that focus on social and environmental activism. “We will have to create the impossible if we plan to survive. So why not use our imagination—a force, which as the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott taught me, is our prime source and mechanism of survival,” Mather says.
435 S Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501| 505.982.8111