November 4 – December 18, 2021
Thursday, November 4, 2021
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Curated by Lissa Rivera
ClampArt is pleased to present “Feeling the Space,” a group show including work by Jane Dickson, Ann Weathersby, Marianna Rothen, and Natasha Gornik.
“Feeling the Space” references the 1973 Yoko Ono album of the same name. Ono’s liner notes recall back-page ads, listing the physical statistics and phone numbers of her male collaborators (“Gordon Edwards—bass (496-8929) * Feb. 24, 1938; 6’2”; 240 lbs.; chest: 48”; waist: 40”; hips: huge”). Ono’s album is a powerful feminist manifesto. She grapples with “the space,” which can be interpreted as the outer edges of the imposed limitations of gendered sexuality and social position, or even the experience of a spacial absence—traversing a space occupied by straight male dominance. Entering it is a sort of breaking and entering—first a pleasure, and yet also a risk. When objectification is a state defined for one by others, it can feel like a straitjacket. When it is a personal choice, it can be pleasurable and freeing.
Jane Dickson’s paintings of pre-Giuliani Times Square sex shows capture the gritty, dark sexuality of 1980s New York (the grit can be literally gauged in these works of oil stick on sandpaper). In the tradition of painters such as Toulouse-Lautrec or Reginald Marsh, Dickson captures erotic sexual theater. Dickson frequented peep shows and strip clubs, where she had to go accompanied by men, so as not to arouse suspicion (women voyeurs were not trusted in these spaces). Inside, she would covertly snap photos to serve as source material for her work. Crossing the threshold forbidden to female consumers, Dickson extracts fleeting moments as if a smuggler of these visions, later to be dissected and consumed in the privacy of her studio.
Ann Weathersby encases her own photographs with found vintage and vernacular images of women into glass, like specimens frozen in amber, yet also protected and impenetrable. In her “Covers” series, she censors text and iconic markings (with tape, ink, paint, blood, and multiple covers) over the text of vintage pulp novels featuring femme fatales and other female archetypes, erasing the fantasy narrative imposed on them and revealing them as literal objects intended to be placed on shelves and consumed by the gaze. Paired with pigmented, kiln-formed glass that references chapels, minimalist sculpture, protective skin, and mirrors, she creates a subjective space to reclaim uncensored histories and to reflect and refract interiority, collective experience, and physical light.
Marianna Rothen looks to her personal diaries from ages 12-16, investigating her pubescent desires passionately informed and tortured by intergenerational narratives of female sexual purity and storybook romance. Rothen’s nascent performative innocence is at play with her looming sexuality, both feared and desired. Replaying her secret journals in the privacy of her studio, Rothen further objectifies the boys of her fantasies by relegating them to become mannequins or models. Rothen, a former professional model herself, draws on her own drive to control, and also submit to, these deeply-embedded erotic narratives.
Natasha Gornik’s photographs from the series “Good Soup” take the viewer on a journey into the private terrain of the BDSM community, of which she is an insider. In the particular images chosen for “Feeling the Space,” a curtain serves as a portal into a stage set outside of daily life. Here, the initiated experiment with the pleasures of total guided objectification, in which identity outside of the sexual is obscured.
Lissa Rivera is a photographer and curator based in Brooklyn, NY. Rivera received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, where she became fascinated with the social history of photography and the evolution of identity, sexuality, and gender in relationship to material culture. Rivera has curated many exhibitions with a focus on modern and contemporary art in which she strives to include traditionally underrepresented voices regardless of formal education or exhibition history. Rivera’s recent curatorial effort “Leonor Fini: Theatre of Desire 1930-1990” was the first US Museum survey dedicated to Fini. The show was reviewed by The New York Times, Art in America, and Artforum, and was listed as one of the top ten exhibitions of the year by ARTnews.
For more information and images please contact Brian Paul Clamp, Director, or see www.clampart.com.