On January 17, the AsIs Gallery at Sage Art Center hosted the opening of the annual “(en)Gendered” juried exhibition sponsored by the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender & Women’s Studies and the Department of Art and Art History. This year’s theme was “Words and Works: Dialogues in Intersectionality.” The exhibit featured over 60 pieces submitted by over 50 undergraduate students. The jury was composed of Heather Layton, a senior lecturer in art, Joan Saab, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Art and Art History, and Lauron Kehrer, a PhD student at Eastman exploring queer and gender identities in music.
There were many interesting and strong works representing a variety of media such as drawing, painting, photography, 3D sculpture, and computer-generated images. In her opening address, Heather Layton described how difficult it was to jury the show because of the high quality of the submissions and their diverse interpretations of the theme. In order to decide the three winners of the $150 juror’s prize and the honorable mentions, Layton said that the jurors looked for works that started a conversation about gender as it applies to many different topics and that started a conversation.
The first winner was junior Quy Chau Dong’s“H2OK?!”, a powerful charcoal portrait of a young woman crouching while brandishing a water bottle as her weapon of choice. Beyond the technical merits ofthe work, its message was especially strong: “H2OK?!” speaks to the physical power that women have, even with something as simple as a water bottle. No person should ever underestimate another based on their gender or physical stature, especially when they are holding a weapon, no matter how innocuous it may appear.
Junior Erica Huang also received a juror’s prize for her screenprint and needlwork polyptych “i’ll miss our little talks.” The piece features four images of a mother grooming her daughter that fade into nothingness in the bottom panel. Stitching connects the mother to her daughter but becomes chaotic, representing what Huang sees as an increasing attempt to repair a broken relationship. By the end, all that remains in the blank paper are empty holes made by the needle, signifying the wounds that accompany every relationship after their members give up on it.
The final juror’s prize was given to an acrylic painting entitled “Pry” and created by senior Emily Gross-Rosenblatt. Gross-Rosenblatt seeks to discuss the signs of physical and emotional intimacy through the visual medium. The square canvas shows a man and a woman in white grappling on the floor, but her painting technique, which effects a soft light, makes it hard to discern all of the details of the image. The painting is purposefully hard to interpret: is the man forcefully grabbing hold of the woman’s arm, or are they merely martial artists at practice? The perplexing subject matter captures the intimacy two people can feel with their bodies and with their hearts, but also how distant those two feelings can be from one another.
The jurors also gave honorable mentions to seven other works to round out the collection, now on display inthe Art & Music Library. Combined, they represent a range of interpretations and spark a dialogue with one another. The honorable mentions are: “Blinds” by junior Marika Azoff, “Neverland” by junior Erica Huang, “Olympia” by senior Marta Tiesenga, “The Persian Beauty” by sophomore Harshita Venkatesh, “The Tailings Collection” by senior Ling Rao, “Mahjong, family, culture” by freshman Bonnie Wu, and “The Scariest Things” by sophomore Amanda Lai. The exhibit will beon display until February 27.
Libbey is a member of the class of 2016.