There’s been a resurgence in recent years of artists using materials like textiles and ceramics in siting domestic settings as creative spaces, a nod to the influence of the 1970s Pattern and Decoration (P & D) art movement.
WRITTEN BY: EMILY GOSLING
3 AUGUST 2021
“Fifty years later, the challenge P & D posed to institutional art history, and the market for non-white, non-male artists continue to be a struggle for contemporary artists,” says Anna Katz in her essay introducing the exhibition. “Only 14% of all exhibitions at 26 prominent U.S. museums over the past decade were of work by women artists. Data analysis of 18 major U.S. art museums found that their collections are 87% male and 85% white. The deployment of materials and approaches that are coded female or are by artists of diverse backgrounds continues to be a way to challenge this status quo.
“P & D unsettled and troubled the coding by the academic, the discipline of art history, the museum, and the market of the wide range of arts historically associated with women’s traditional activities in the home and non-Western cultures as decorative and thus secondary, or worse.”
Many of the artists in Fringe explore ideas around gender stereotypes through the re-appropriation of traditionally “feminine craft” techniques, while many use the idea of camp as a conceptual framework.
Florida-born Max Colby, for instance, reframes traditional notions of domesticity, power, and gender from a trans and non-binary perspective through the political tactics of camp. New York-born Pamela Council also uses a camp aesthetic, but one rooted in “Afro Americana” that they’ve dubbed “BLAXIDERMY.”
Meanwhile, Chicago-based abstract painter Judy Ledgerwood’s work considers domestically created decorative work made by women across cultures, using circles, quatrefoils, and seed-like shapes organised within triangles and chevrons that “she perceives as a womanly cypher symbolic of feminine power,” according to the gallery.
Taking on themes of craft and trauma, Tennessee-born Josie Love Roebuck combines embroidery and painting to create intimate portraits of survivors of rape. “Her paintings re-create the emotional narratives of the victims she depicts and asks the viewer to consider the difficult reality of overcoming and healing from trauma,” the gallery explains. “Her process addresses the contemporary complexity of identifying as biracial through symbolising pain and triumph, exclusion, and acceptance.”