Texas Tech University

Feminum

Curated by Loren Schwerd
Texas Tech School of Art, Lubbock
January 27 - March 4, 2018

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FEMINUM is the mythological metal mined on Paradise Island used to make Wonder Woman's Bracelets of Submission, the bullet-deflecting cuffs that protect her. FEMINUM, the exhibition curated by Loren Schwerd, associate professor of art at Louisiana State University, features sculptures by ten women artists (with one male collaborator) from Texas and Oklahoma, whose work explores intimate and equivocal negotiations of oppression and sovereignty.

Schwerd, who grew up with the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman television series recalls, "Even at 8 years old, watching Wonder Woman running around in Go-Go boots and a bustier, I was skeptical of her as a feminist model." Schwerd's recent encounter with Jill Lepore's The Secret History of Wonder Woman made her aware of William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman's creator and his idiosyncratic feminist theory, which contains some convenient caveats that, ultimately, leave his credibility as a feminist suspect. In Marston's Wonder Woman backstory or mythology, the Bracelets of Submission, are a vestige of the history of Amazonian oppression and liberation. The bracelets serve as a symbol of resistance to patriarchal society.

Eggert + Abrams
Above: Alicia Eggert + Joshua Williams (Denton) "Above and Beyond" (2017) powder coated steel, size variable.

FEMINUM considers the implications of Wonder Woman's incongruous imagery of bondage and liberation, pin-up girls and feminist action, through works by women who embody paradoxical suggestions of oppression and empowerment, and defiance and complicity. Many of the works in FEMINUM, involve disguising, adorning, arming, or inscribing the body with symbols of identity. There are several artists in the show who combine sculpture, performance and video and/or photography, to suggest historical, mythical, or ritual purposes for the objects they have fashioned. In each case, the tactile experience of these objects/artifacts, with their resourceful use of materials and their genuine application of craft, are critical for conjuring their full range of playful and subversive suggestions.

Rachel Hayes
Above: Rachel Hayes (Tulsa) "Swoosh" (2015) twine and tool, 12 x 35 feet x 30 inches.

Artists in the exhibition include: Crystal Campbell (Tulsa), Erin Cunningham (Austin), Alicia Eggert & Joshua Williams (Denton), Rachel Hayes (Tulsa), Shana Hoehn (Houston), Kathryn Kelley (Lubbock), Liss LaFluer (Denton), Jennifer Ling Datchuck (San Antonio), Beili Liu (Austin), and Alyssa Taylor Wendt (Austin).