In the Year of the Woman (1992), I graduated from high school naively racing towards the future. Twenty-six years later, 2018 has reclaimed that title. Searching for what has changed or is still the same remains. The battle continues and expands with a new generation leading. The #metoo and #itstime warriors are holding the frontlines.
Recently, my three pieces WOMEN (clear braille on polymer), FIRE & FURY (plastic), and WOMEN (paper and stickers) were part of an exhibit titled Roe v. Wade at Sulfur Studios in Savannah, GA. From the website: “For this National Call for Entry, artists were prompted to submit artwork on the theme of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that outlawed restrictions on abortions. They were prompted: Why is Roe v. Wade important to you? And does its relevance change with the very real threat of its repeal? This exhibition is presented in conjunction with guest curators Heather MacRae, Chela Gutierrez, and Jeremiah Jossim.”
Participating artists included Susanna Deal, Rebecca Slivinsky, Zara Bell, Shelley Smith, Honor Bowman, Melanie Mills, Axelle Kieffer, Krista Harberson, and Greg Eltringham. The artists share a kinship of response, urgency, and reflection. From Shelley Smith’s website: “Her work often explores conceptual self-portraiture using the methods of digital collage, video, hand-embroidery, and drawing. Smith combines traditional hand techniques and materials with contemporary tools to create work that reflects how identity is formed over a lifetime.” In solidarity, artists are reclaiming identity politics.
WOMEN description: Lady Justice is a symbol of impartiality in our judicial system. Standing stoically with a scale in one hand and a sword in the other, she is blindfolded representing that power, status, or money has no influence. A standard braille sign becomes repurposed by altering its function. The art serves as a marker questioning how special interests have weakened the fundamental principles of democracy. Citizens must question, organize, and demand the highest standards preserving truth and justice.
FIRE & FURY description: A standard braille sign has been repurposed altering its function. Since taking office, President Trump has escalated tensions with North Korea by threatening “fire and fury.” According to TIME magazine: “Women make up more than half the U.S. population…the fact remains that in 2016, women held just 23% of government offices.” What if women grabbed back with fire and furry against unreasonable aggression? Women must stand firm against this unreasonable behavior and set the standard for humanity.
WOMEN description: My art practice investigates symbols of influence and power that impact perception. At least nineteen women have accused President Donald J. Trump of unwanted sexual advances. Trump’s presidency has faced a Women’s March, the #MeToo movement, and a resistance uprising. Custom return address labels have been repurposed with the word “WOMEN.” As evidence stacks and women organize, Mr. Trump can’t hide from his actions and the truth.
In the Roe v. Wade exhibit, Sulfur Studios is a beacon in an ocean of neutrality. Truth and perspective can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. However, creative and free expression is needed beyond white walls. Restricting choice can’t silence art. Sulfur Studios leads and now we need more followers…
Roe v. Wade, Sulfur Studios, Savannah, GA, September 20-29, 2018.