Picture Room has curated a month-long exhibition at Ace Hotel New York, featuring artists and work from the shop featuring works by Kayla Ephros, Maia Ruth Lee, Jen Shear, Blanca Guerrero, and Aidan Koch.
In 1971, Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro curated Womanhouse, an exhibition at CalArts in which 21 female performance and installation artists created thematic work based on stereotypical tropes of "women's work." Forty-five years later, Picture Room pays homage to this historic happening, inviting a select group of contemporary women artists to address similar themes through a modern lens. The five artists on display in After Womanhouse make use of clip art, blogging, and web imagery paired with hand-crafted paper, textiles and traditional artistic practices.
Aidan Koch paints classical forms and poses, reclaiming the female figure from male artists who have historically painted unnamed models. In Koch’s graphic novel Impressions, she speaks of “thinking about who painters’ models tended to be, and that it’s weird to think of all those paintings only in terms of being painted by men.” Kayla Ephros’ playful approach to DIY fashion contrasts with the stark simplicity of her black and white drawings, contributing to a subtle dissonance. Jen Shear, also working on fabric, collages images and text from the internet, creates a visual conversation on gender politics, cultural identity, alternative lifestyles, advertising, art history, erotica and the natural world. In Maia Ruth Lee’s paintings, full pages of clip art catalogs from the 80s and 90s are meticulously copied in absorptive india ink on archival rag paper, depicting decorative borders that would appear in emails and newsletters. Blanca Guerrero creates delicate yet complex collages using kozo and mitsumata fiber washi paper made during a residency in Shikoku, Japan. All five artists’ work has a unique tactile quality, complemented by a strong sense of intention.
Chicago and Schapiro sparked a significant discourse on breaking down the expectation of “women’s work” by allowing women artists to fully express their frustration, using these same media and roles assigned to them throughout history. We see this conversation continue today in After Womanhouse.
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Nov 10th 2016