Working on the Bias

18 02 2013

An exhibition at the Watson Gallery, Stiefel Theater, in Salina, Kansas, February 22 – April 21, 2013. Opening reception: Saturday, February 23, 5-7pm.

Women’s work. Feminine craft. Separate spheres. Such phrases historically have been used to propagate hierarchies of gender, art, culture, and everyday life. For centuries, women’s artistic production was devalued in the histories of art and even the use of certain media came to have negatively gendered associations, so that textiles and fabric-based work occupied a low status. Since the 1960s, however, artists around the world have sought to break down such barriers of media and gender. By reclaiming artistic materials that were once denigrated, artists grant them greater status and visibility, while also acknowledging their problematic histories.

Working on the Bias explores themes of gender and identity through art that physically or conceptually incorporates stitched, embroidered, or woven elements. The works included in this exhibition range from serious to whimsical, addressing such diverse concerns as lost family histories, traumatic physical experiences, and the formal aesthetics of thread. Jan Wilson’s photographic series speaks to the way the osteoporosis gene weaves through generations of women within a single family, while Erika Nelson upends the tradition of quilting, translating the standard surface area of an 80” x 100” quilt into a completely useless 2” x 75 yard format. Many of the artists embrace the multiple meanings of the exhibition’s title, playing on references to labor, discrimination, gender, and material practices.

Conceived as a pendant exhibition to A Complex Weave: Gender and Identity in Contemporary Art, an exhibition of international artists currently on view at the Salina Art Center, Working on the Bias gathers a group of regional artists who address parallel concerns. Artists included hail from Salina, Wichita, Lawrence, Manhattan, Kansas City, Bennington, Lucas, Lincoln, KS, and Lincoln, NE. The exhibition was organized by Carolyn Wedel, of the Watson Gallery, and Rachel Epp Buller, regional coordinator of The Feminist Art Project.




One response

25 02 2013
Bodies on Display, Then and Now | Nursing Clio

[…] a nationally touring show from Rutgers University, home of The Feminist Art Project – and “Working on the Bias,” a pendant show of work by regional artists that explores the body and gender identity through […]

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