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(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.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state's premier public liberal arts college. Ranked among the top colleges in the region by College Choice and recognized by, among others, U.S. News & World Report, Princeton Review, Colleges of Distinction and, also designated by Victory Media as a "Military Friendly College," Ramapo College is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor's degrees in the arts, business, 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 degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education.

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