emPower Dynamics

emPower Dynamics

Date(s): September 14, 2015 at 11:00am - October 23, 2015 at 6:00pm

Location: Gateway Project Spaces

Cost: Free

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Artists Include: Jaishri Abichandani, Renée Cox, Ayana Evans, FLUCT, Angela Fraleigh, Chitra Ganesh, Rachel Mason, Marilyn Minter, Sophia Narrett, Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, Michele Pred, Ventiko and Shoshanna Weinberger.

(Em)Power Dynamics : Exploring the Modes of Female Empowerment and Representation in America is an exhibition inspired by the collective body of flower paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe, starting in 1924, and Ana Mendieta’s Untitled (Facial Cosmetic Variations), 1972. Dating from two generations within the ongoing American feminist art movement, these artists exemplify the diversities of concerns, aesthetics, concepts, and approaches that make up the movement. These artists and their work confront the pervasive patriarchy that has been, and continues to be, dominant within our social landscape.

Mendieta and O’Keeffe represent two types of ‘feminist’ (or in the case of O’Keeffe, proto-feminist) artists. On one end, O’Keefe is not necessarily labeled as feminist for the content of her work, but instead for the role she played as a staunch pioneer for women Modernists amongst a sea of men. Mendieta addresses the other end of the spectrum. She used herself- her body, her personal narrative, and a larger social history to address the gender injustices in America. The legacy left by both women has set the tone for this exhibition.

(Em)Power Dynamics is an exhibition that surveys the gambit of American contemporary artists who have pushed boundaries. The diverse mix of artists in the show have advanced against the annals of gender inequality and served to empower not only women in the arts, but women throughout America. Artists in the exhibition not only explore the diversity in modes of representation, but also the vastness of issues and topics that have risen in the larger social/historical conversation. (Em)Power Dynamics is intended to take a critical look at the history and future of feminism in America.

(Em)power Dynamics is the second iteration of the Visualizing Our Americana exhibition series. The series, which is divided into four different exhibitions, explores contemporary social issues through a critical visual lens. The exhibition does not include ‘artifacts,’ instead it presents contemporary work that explores the larger themes pertaining to the larger concept of American culture. Each exhibition is inspired by a ‘classic’ example of what we often associate with ‘Americana’.

The purpose of the series is not only to examine these issues, but also to highlight the positive aspects of diversity that directly correlate with each topic.

The definition of ‘Americana’ is ‘the materials concerning or characteristic of America, its civilization, or it’s culture; broadly: things typical of America’ (Merriam Webster). These materials not only chronicle our collective history, but also shape our social, cultural, and visual future.

In exploring the larger idea of a catchall term as Americana, one must analyze what comprises our American social landscape. America is a country built on the backbone of cross-cultural collaborations. Our foundation is not based on a singular or homogenous narrative; instead, it is a culmination of many voices, histories, and contributions.

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