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CWA Picks for June 2019

posted by CAA — Jun 11, 2019

CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship to share with CAA members on a monthly basis. See the picks for June below.

Sara Cwynar, Tracy (Cezanne), 2017. Dye sublimation print. Courtesy of the artist, Cooper Cole, Toronto, Foxy Production, New York. © Sara Cwynar

SARA CWYNAR: IMAGE MODEL MUSE

March 8 – August 4, 2019
Milwaukee Art Museum

Sara Cwynar (b. 1985, Canada) explores both process and the power of the media in a variety of media including photography, collage, book-making and installation. Her first solo exhibition in the US, IMAGE MODEL MUSE at the Milwaukee Art Museum will feature three of her latest films—Soft Film (2016), Rose Gold (2017), and Cover Girl (2018) alongside photographs from her ongoing Tracy series (2008-current). Named for the model in the photographs, the Tracy images acknowledge the history of representation of women with discarded, high-modernist-era designed objects, connecting “the way we treat objects and the way we treat humans,” according to the artist in an Aperture interview. The photographs and films are multi-layered, intricate and deep with eye-catching, bright hues and sharp design, creating bold and successful works aesthetically and substantially. Her films combine these elements with traditions of experimental film and performance video, further questioning issues around imagery and circulation via the internet. Senses and minds are sure to be exercised at this dense exhibit.

JORDAN CASTEEL: RETURNING THE GAZE

May 1 – August 18, 2019
Denver Art Museum

This first major museum exhibition of artist Jordan Casteel (b. 1989, Denver) presents almost thirty paintings, from 2014 to present, showing the artist’s evolving practice and themes from cityscapes and subway scenes to women and local business owners. The oversized portraits with bold colors and intentional heavy contrast exude a clear and bold presence of the individuals and places that perhaps often aren’t paid more than a glance. In Benyam (2018), a trio of individuals at what appears to be a wine bar, look square into the viewers, their poses comfortable but intentional, background details like art on the walls and a plant, wine glasses, lacking much detail, complete the aura of the image, questioning who and what this art is about—those in the painting, those looking, or the moment of looking? Figures depicted sometimes vulnerable, sometimes jovial, always at ease, each one staring deeply at the viewer, presenting an intimate exhibition experience.

SAYA WOOLFALK: EXPEDITION TO THE CHIMACLOUD

March 1 – September 1, 2019
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

Artist Saya Woolfalk (b. 1979, Japan) created ChimaCloud, an alternative digital universe, via an extensive narrative of a fictional race of women she named the Empathics. This exhibition presents an immersive, multi-media experience incorporating themes of cultural hybridization, technology, identity, ceremonial rituals, and science fiction. Especially for this exhibition installation, Woolfalk drew her inspiration directly from the Nelson-Atkins permanent collection, adding a contextual and localized element. “What I hope is to have people feel a little bit distracted…and because they’re so unclear about where they are, they become open…so that, they can take that sense of openness with them into their everyday lives,” said the artist on the museum website. The bright colors, patterns, figures, and lights will likely transport and fulfill the artist’s want.

The 58th International Art Exhibition

May 11 – November 24, 2019
Biennale Arte 2019, Venice, Italy

For the first time in the history of the Venice Biennale half of those artists who contributed to the main exhibition entitled May You Live in Interesting Times, curated by Ralph Rugoff, are women.

Cathy Wilkes
British Pavilion

Cathy Wilkes’ exhibition, featuring new works created for the Biennale Arte 2019 in Venice, occupies the six rooms of the British Pavilion. The viewers are invited to a space filled with melancholy, stillness, and breath-taking natural Venetian daylight. Visiting Venice Biennale can be an overwhelming experience, with the abundance of artworks, the crowds, the queues and the discussions heard almost everywhere. Wilkes, with her characteristic sensibility and attention to the minutiae of matter, created an intimate space that seems to stand still. She stripped the Pavilion of any adornments and insisted on natural light soaking in. The sculptural installations are accompanied by prints and paintings changing hues and tones with the daily and nightly transformations of light. Those variations in colors and textures brought together into intimate relationships and juxtapositions are subtle and interconnected. Wilkes created a space filled with loss but also hope, invoking a sense of daily rituals, scattered across the rooms, disrupted but also complete.

Renate Bertlmann
Austrian Pavilion

For the first time in the history of Austrian contribution to the Venice Biennale, a female artist widely acclaimed in the international feminist avant-garde, Renate Bertlmann, was selected for a solo exhibition in the Austrian Pavilion. Her installation, entitled Discordo Ergo Sum (I disagree, therefore I am), playing on the Descartesian philosophical principle ‘Cogito Ergo Sum’ (I think, therefore I am), is an ironic statement and a subversion of established sociopolitical hierarchies and dichotomies, also within the art world. The artist appropriates a rich vocabulary of social symbols and reviews them from a feminist position encouraging multitude and diversity. At the heart of the exhibition Bertlmann installed a grid of 312 glass roses (hand blown in Murano) out of which protrude razor sharp blades. This is accompanied by a series of works exploring body images and a piece in front of the pavilion, Amo Ergo Sum (I love, therefore I am), which raise issues concerning the transformative potential of art, and gender violence.

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