Born Netta Deweze Frazee Scudder, she adopted the much simpler name Janet when she went to art school in Cincinnati in the 1880s. When she arrived in Chicago in 1891, she became an assistant to sculptor Lorado Taft (along with Bessie Potter Vonnoh) and helped him with his commissions for the World’s Columbian Exposition. She received her own commissions for the fair as well. She settled in New York City and established a reputation for medallions and later for urban and garden fountains, especially Frog Fountain (1901, pictured, collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art).
Alida Cervantes, Mexican painter and mixed-media artist, creates work with a three-dimensional presence. Themes of power, wealth, and social caste based on race, confront the viewer in her current Mills Gallery show. “La enemiga natural” (above, oil on found palette), suggests that the traditional, over-wrought trappings of feminine wealth and power—elaborate clothes, clownlike makeup—are merely broken and disturbing signifiers. Through September.
Beverly Semmes‘s oversize dresses—fit for a giantess—have become feminist art memes. Her current show at Samson Projects in SOWA, Boston, is a return to these iconic garments, and they seem like old friends—crazy friends, maybe—but still a welcome and hilarious sight. Taken all together, the clothes are souvenirs of wild lives: a diaphanous blue negligee draped over an enormous hanger, decorated with red tags (is the giantess keeping score?); a fringed evening shawl in crushed velvet; a huge gown in canine-print fabric (pictured) with crazily puddling sleeves; blouses embroidered with cellular patterns. The last day is May 27.
Jenny Carpenter and Merill Comeau‘s Some Semblance of deploys a virtuosic range of work which conveys both the dailiness and disruption of family life. Between the two artists, we see drawing, collaged fabric sculpture, installations, and an evocative display of found/collected objects.
Comeau deconstructs and reconstructs textiles employing traditional sewing techniques to convey reordered narratives. Jenny Carpenter draws on veneer panel, and creates installations like the one above that embody the simultaneous protection and painful constriction of family ties.
At ArtSpace Maynard until May 26. Check website for directions and hours.
Above: Jenny Carpenter, Cradle
The Frederic Remington Museum in Ogdensburg, New York, has the only collection of sculpture by Sally James Farnham, the early 20th century neoclassical sculptor of monuments and portraits. Sally’s Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Memorial (above) is across the street, behind the Ogdensburg Public Library.
Both Remington and Farnham were Ogdensburg natives, and probably met in later life while living in New York City. Remington was Farnham’s mentor and encouraged her early work, even recommending his New York foundry, Roman Bronze.
I’m very excited to participate in the Museum’s first artist in residence program this summer, working on projects related to Sally. I’ll be posting upcoming activities and events at the Remington—workshops and talks—starting July 1.
An addendum to this post from the Remington appears on Facebook, thanks to director Laura Foster and the Sally Farnham Catalog Raisonne Project director Michael Reed: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=sally%20james%20farnham
Salish Vision, 2002
red cedar, copper, acrylic
Courtesy of the Museum of Anthropology, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, Salish Weave Collection, 3113/6
Photo: Janet Dwyer
Boston artist Susan Alport has installed her 5th solo show at SOWA’s Kingston Gallery. It’s difficult to place Alport in any single context. Her work has encompassed drawing, installation, sculpture, painting and photography. Her new exhibit is a meditation on creation itself.
The ongoing process of making art as it originates in and flows through the artist’s senses is the core of the exhibit. Alport uses her own silver gelatin prints and appropriated ephemera: newspaper articles, postcards, yearbook photos. She re-photographs these in associative conglomerations, and juxtaposes them in groups that create a hide-and-seek of context and communication. Alport views the installation itself as a process, a temporal waypoint in the creator’s search. Says Alport: “I’m using this exhibit as a temporary stopping place to find, along with the viewer, points of interconnectedness to move the work forward.”
The sculpture “Fearless Girl” by Kristen Visbal is temporarily installed opposite the iconic life-size bull on Broadway in New York’s financial district. A plaque at the feet of “Fearless Girl,” branded with the SSGA logo, reads: “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.” The sculpture, which appears to be of a young white girl, will remain installed alongside Arturo Di Modica’s “Charging Bull” at least through the end of the month. Installed on the eve of International Women’s Day (March 8) the piece calls attention to not only to women’s defiance in the face of long odds, but the dearth of women in leadership positions in New York’s financial industry.
Although I often think of Yayoi Kusama as a sculptor, the “Infinity Rooms” she creates at the Hirschhorn Museum cause the viewer to be immersed in her mind and emotions in a way that transcends three dimensions. Since the 1960s, Kusama has been creating mirrored rooms filled with lights and her signature polka-dot patterns, but this is the first time her major works have been installed in the US as they were intended. At this point in time, it is difficult to grasp the huge reach and influence of Kusama’s career. Whether working in film, fashion, graphic design, or installation art, she has embodied the avant garde for 50 years and shows no signs of slowing down.
I pray with all of my love for tulips at the National Museum of Art, Osaka (top), one of Kusama’s first mirrored room installations (at bottom)
Through May 14th at the Hirschhorn, the exhibit then tours the US and Canada