The 2017 Project for Empty Space GRAB BACK Feminist Incubator program facilitated four Feminists in Residence: Anna Ogier-Bloomer, Marilyn Narota Gomez, Sahana Ramakrishnan, and Rosary Solimanto. During their residence, the four artists were provided with unlimited access to Project For Empty Space’s co-working studio space, tools and resources including our growing feminist library. On June 2nd 2017, PES's inaugural GRAB BACK Feminist Incubator concluded with the Feminists in Residence group exhibition, CLAW.
About the 2017 Feminists in Residence
Feminists in Residence Group Exhibition: CLAW
CLAW is an exhibition comprised of four independent projects that each address a unique and personal topic speaking to a wider phenomenon of female struggle and perseverance. Woven together, these projects address a larger issue of female invisibility. Artists created these works with the understanding that society’s lens doesn’t allow women to unravel; patriarchal structures continue to surprise that nuances and complexities of female identity without allowing them to exist in an agendized space of self-ownership. In this exhibition PES’s four artists in residence address and discuss their hidden identities; their navigation of physical and mental health issues; the trials, triumphs, and tribulations of having and raising children; the complexities of fighting gender binaries; and the perceived sense of safety or lack thereof. The very act of addressing these issues through visceral and blatant art objects and performance is a resistance to historical repression of female voice and agency.
In both its noun and verb form ‘claw’ is a cheeky nod to the contemporary association of females and felines. It is in this vein that claw has become synonymous with ‘GRABBING BACK,’ which in and of itself derived from the now infamous phrase ‘Grab them by the pussy.’ CLAW is representative of a culmination of feminist work that has been developing long before this contemporary moment.
In CLAW, artists Gomez, Ogier-Bloomer, Ramakrishnan, and Solimanto, bring together a variety of disciplines that together both prod and reject the patriarchal systems that have done the same to women. Ramakrishnan's voyeurist series of intaglio prints create a magical myth-like narrative of sexual exploration, disability identity, gender roles and power dynamics. Ogier-Bloomer’s large scale photographs, pulled from two separate, but intimate series speak of the ‘behind closed door aspect’ of being a mother, breast feeding, postpartum, and survival of oneself. Solimanto focuses on disease and trauma in the form of performance and documentation, using self as a reference, as she lives with, and battles multiple sclerosis. Gomez relishes the transformative power of perception when everyday domestic objects and environments are imbued with psychological tension, inviting us to pair familiarity with the uncanny, challenging social norms regarding beauty, gender, race and psychology.
FEMINISTS IN RESIDENCE PRESS
Future Perfect: Flux Factory’s Intersectional Approach to Technology, by Zachary Small, Art in America, April 7th 2017.