Faith Ringgold’s Wedding on the Seine, from the series The French Collection, Part 1: #2, 1991, acrylic on canvas, tie-dyed, pieced fabric border, 74″ x 89″. Credit Line: Collection of Joseph P. Carroll and Dr. Roberta Carroll, courtesy of Forum Gallery, New York. One of the most important Faith Ringgold story quilts in private hands, Wedding on the Seine (1991) tells the story of the fictional artist Willia Marie Simone’s marriage to a Frenchman named Pierre. In the image, Simone appears to be fleeing the ceremony and throwing her bouquet into the Seine River. Simone is running away from Pierre because she believes her elopement with him will interfere with her dream of becoming an artist. More information on www.westportartscenter.org. (contributed photo)
The Westport Arts Center presents Handmade: Women Reshaping Contemporary Art on view from March 23 – June 2, 2018.
The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Gorayeb, the Executive Director of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc., a non-profit art historical research foundation based in New York. For nearly two decades, Gorayeb has specialized in art historical research on the provenance and attribution of works of art.
Elizabeth Gorayeb, curator of the Handmade: Women Reshaping Contemporary Art exhibition. (contributed photo)
Handmade: Women Reshaping Contemporary Art includes artwork by a diverse range of over 15 female artists with a focus on fiber and textile arts. Artists of note include Lesley Dill, Faith Ringgold, Miriam Schapiro, Judith Scott, and Beverly Semmes. It is the first time that this assemblage of artists has appeared together in Connecticut.
The opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Friday, March 23 from 6 – 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
Sermin Kardestuncer’s 301 Balls (Diptych), 2017, cotton thread, coal fabric, 37” x 37” x 1.5” each panel, 37” x 75.5” x 1.5” overall (detail). Courtesy of the artist and Pierogi Gallery, NYC. (contributed photo)
Gorayeb states, “As visitors to a gallery or museum, we are expected to engage with works of art though the act of looking. We consider the final product of the artist’s creation, but rarely do we think of the tactile experience of the artist’s process. Fiber art — works of art created from wool, silk, cotton, flax and other forms of textiles — present us with a dynamic, multi-sensory experience.”
“The medium of fiber is also weighted with gendered, socio-political signifiers that are imparted onto the final work of art. To put it plainly, fiber is feminine. Weaving, embroidery, knitting and sewing are thought to be the domain of women, whose productions in these areas have long been relegated to the status of ‘decoration,’” added Gorayeb.
Amanda Innes, Executive Director of the Westport Arts Center, stated, “There is an unexpected timeliness to this exhibition that resonates within the community at large. These established artists, working in non-traditional media, are clearly making an impact within the conversation of Contemporary Art. Their work unapologetically embraces the sensory aspects of fiber, and defies any attempt to diminish the work as craft.”
The works in the exhibition are courtesy of several prominent private collections, browngrotta arts, Eric Firestone Gallery, Forum Gallery, Susan Inglett Gallery, Nohra Haime Gallery and Pierogi Gallery, NYC.
Terri Friedman’s Do Not Touch, 2017, wool, acrylic and metallic fibers, 37” x 33”. Courtesy of the artist. (contributed photo)
The exhibition is aligned with the Westport Arts Center’s annual gala, taking place on May 19. 2018 at the Fairfield County Hunt Club. The 2018 Gala, Hall of Femme, will highlight and celebrate legendary women in art. Tickets for the gala are available by calling 203/222-7070 or visiting westportartscenter.org/gala.
The High School Student Art exhibition, featuring selected works by high school students in the region, will be on view simultaneous with Handmade: Women Reshaping Contemporary Art.
The Arts Center will announce integrated programming at a later date. To learn more about the upcoming exhibition and supporting events, visit westportartscenter.org or call 203/222-7070.