Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Starting From Scratch


August 24–September 25, 2015
Handwerker Gallery, Ithaca College
Ithaca, NY
Curated by Mara Baldwin and Eleanore Kohorn ('16)
 The plot of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s utopian novel, Herland (1915), follows the travails of three male explorers as they stumble upon and are hosted by an enlightened and geographically isolated nation of women.  Utopian literature gained popularity by writers and readers alike over the course of the post-Enlightenment era, a trend reflecting cultural exposure of increased travel and trade to other social systems, causing many to compare, evaluate, and criticize previously-accepted standards of living.  Female authors in the genre almost exclusively write about more perfect worlds that are female-exclusive or devoid of gender altogether.  These novels, Gilman’s Herland included, are bereft with unapologetic severity, self-aware absurdity, unexpected humor, and bountiful ingenuity in the clairvoyant revisioning of a more perfect society. The artists in this exhibition share this radical impulse, of throwing everything out and starting over in pursuit of a new social order built on equanimity and a preemptive resourcefulness, rewriting history to include the lost stories, artifacts, and initiatives of invented feminist societies. 
Featuring work by Elisheva Biernoff; Angela Ellsworth; Robyn Love; Tara Mateik; Sophie Mörner; Rebecca Purcell, J. Morgan Puett, & Jeffrey Jenkins of Mildred’s Lane; and Amanda Wojick.
A little preview of my piece, Heaven is the Most Dangerous Place of All, 2015.  Hand knit and crochet yarn, fabric, mirrors, paper and tent frame.
The yellow stripe (formerly known as The Knitted Mile) runs through the entire gallery, eventually leading visitors to this alcove where they are invited to look in each envelope and pick a card.

There are six cards in total, each with a question or phrase designed to provoke.

The stripe leads into the tent, where there are cushions for sitting on.  And lots of mirrors.

A visitor contemplates his card...


Unknown said...

Am I enough? intellectually, i know the answer. but this kind of question gnaws at me. I still, sometimes feel inadequate. My heart has trouble recognizing what my brain knows.

but is less of problem every year.

Robyn said...

I agree that this one, in particular, is a toughie. I also struggle with it (which is why I included it!). For me, it comes and goes. And sometimes, to make up for feeling like not enough, I lurch over to the other side and think too much about myself!