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Exhibition of Works in Various Sculptural Media by Five Female Artists to Open at Ramapo College September 18

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)August 30, 2013

Kate Gilmore, Built to Burst, 2011, still from digital HD video performance with sound, 5:54 minutes, courtesy of the artist and David Castillo Gallery

(MAHWAH, NJ) – An art exhibition exploring the work of five women artists who make sculpture in a variety of media for imagining the body in the contemporary world, The Body is Present: Women at Work, will open at Ramapo College on Sept. 18 in the Kresge Gallery in the Berrie Center. There will be an opening reception on Sept. 18 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Artists’ and curator’s talks will begin at 6 p.m. The exhibition will continue through Nov. 20. There will be an artists’ panel discussion with the curator on Nov. 19 at 6 p.m., and a closing party will immediately follow the panel. Additional programs will be announced.

The Body is Present: Women at Work will feature works by Samira Abbassy, Maria Brito, Kate Gilmore, Julia Kunin and Anahita Vossoughi.  The curator for the exhibition is Deborah Frizzell, Ph.D., professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History and Theory at William Paterson University.

The Body is Present: Women at Work takes as its premise distinctive aspects of female embodiment that yield particular ways of being in the world and perceiving the world, informing subjectivity and identity as well as the creative process and approaches to art-making. The exhibition provides a platform to explore sculpture in a variety of media for imagining the body as gendered, sexed, raced or living within specific cultural situations and environments.

The Body is Present and its five artists offer a diversity of personal experiences, deep relationships with multiple cultures and art historical perspectives,” explained Frizzell. “Born between 1947 and 1975, each woman brings a fresh interpretation to her chosen medium, mingling animate with inanimate, animal with human, the abstract with the literal, where old distinctions become irrelevant and new sci-fi, hybrid realities emerge.”

Samira Abbassy was born in Iran in 1965. Her sculptures are constructed from a variety of found objects and combined with elementary materials such as clay, wood, fabric, hair, beads, pins and glue. The result of her low-tech approach creates an impression of eerily animated creatures culled from multiple traditions. Abbassy’s sculptural “crowds” of historical archetypes range from characters found in mythology and sacred texts gleaned from many cultures to the hottest contemporary icons.

Maria Brito, born in Cuba in 1947, works in mixed-media and ceramic, constructing assemblages and installations depicting mysterious figures and environments. Brito endows simple, familiar objects with complex symbolism drawn from her life experiences as an exile. Her multi-media works embody issues of loss and identity, as existential theater: theaters of collective and individual memory with highly symbolic overtones, layered and open-ended.

Kate Gilmore, born in 1975, creates a mix of performance, video, sculpture and installation, which suggest narratives that explore the symbols, behaviors, and sentiments associated with the archetypes of “female” ambition and struggle. Using iconography from the domestic, corporate and social worlds, she plays hyper-obsessive, tragic-comic characters that interact with environments, referencing dilapidated construction sites or twisted domestic spaces.

Julia Kunin, born in 1961, explores the porous boundaries among humans, flora, fauna, and geology, evoking in her fantastical glazed porcelain sculpture a ripe sensuality and baroque excess. She emphasizes the qualities of ornamentation, decoration, craft media and gendered sexuality. Her ceramics court the grotesque and scatological, decay and distortion, which she evokes with the sheer beauty of glazes and animated biological forms.

Anahita Vossoughi, born in Canada, 1975, creates sculpture emerging from walls and floors in an amalgam of polymer, clay, paint, and found objects. Enticing and unsettling, masterly and ungainly, her sculptural forms may seduce while suggesting shape-shifting life merging from prosthetic devices. Vossoughi’s eccentric, half-alien hybrid sculptures allude to truncated bodies, sci-fi prosthetics, and weird morphologies in order to represent our nascent, unnamable condition as “post-human” cyborgs.

The curator, Dr. Frizzell, is a professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History and Theory at William Paterson University, where she has taught since 2004. From 1990 to 1994, Frizzell was Curator of Exhibitions and Education at the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut. She is writing a biography on the activist/feminist artist Nancy Spero (1926-2009), and she is the author of multiple books and articles. Frizzell writes articles regularly for New York Arts Magazine, Woman’s Art Journal, and Cultural Politics.

This program is made possible in part by funds from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York, and New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Kresge Gallery is located in the Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts at Ramapo College. Hours are Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information call (201) 684-7147.


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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