SWANK [fool] at Ice Cube Gallery – Theresa Anderson and Rebecca Vaughan
In SWANK [fool], an exhibit by Theresa Anderson with guest collaborator Rebecca Vaughan at the Ice Cube Gallery, some of the personal and political forces that drive contemporary feminist art are open for consideration.
Ms. Anderson, describes the work in this charged exhibit as the “ type of artwork is simultaneously sincere and ironic, acutely self-aware, knowingly shaky, a little snarky, inwardly anxious and uncertain about the future” To my suggestion that there is a repressed sexuality in many of the works that allows both the struggle to find freedom and a resignation to imposed controls, she explains:
“I’m at once a peeper and someone who’s being peeped at. I’m your stalker and your prey. I’ll lead the pack and rip you apart. I’m the Queen Qong ripping through. You just can’t see me as I am elusive. Yep, I’m your nightmare and your dream slipping around on a stripey sea of (linen) sheets and Aubusson rugs. Making pot roasts on Sunday—artist, woman, wife, mother, sister, daughter.”
Anderson considers her work to be autobiographical. Integral to her approach is a deep introspection of how she fits into the world as a woman, with all the personal and societal, expectations, limitations and rewards. In her paintings she lays down image and text and then covers or conceals portions of them. The human forms inhabiting some of her paintings seem also to suggest a need for this incomplete disclosure, as figures seem to struggle to escape the background, exuding both confidence and vulnerability.
Rebecca Vaughan’s three constructed sculptures speak to similar constraints on the historical female. In Corpse Eater, a pink hoop skirt or bustle, fabricated from metal pallet straps with pink, cast-plastic, floral decoration stands before an aluminum construction platform with a silver lame skirt placed in preparation for the implied ordeal of dressing. This and two other works makes us aware of the required devices and manipulations that she sees as both the societal and self-impositions on the feminine world.
In a collaborative work, Strut, Anderson and Vaughan have created a piece that provides insight into their exhibit. Leaning upon an aluminum ladder support, a leg form of expandable foam breaks through the restraint of a nylon stocking. Anderson told me, how the two were pleased to find the double meaning of the word ‘strut’ as both a prideful walk and a mechanical element of a car’s suspension system. Like the struggle of Anderson’s figures to be recognized and Vaughn’s mechanics in anticipation of public presentation, this work alludes to both of their leitmotif.
Anderson is the recipient of numerous awards and has exhibited internationally. At the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Vaughan is the Chair of Fine Arts.
SWANK (Fool) runs through September 8th. At the Ice Cube Gallery at 3320 Walnut Street, Denver, CO. Theresa will also be part of Intimate Dialogue: Seven Women, Seven Voices at the Arvada Center for the Arts from Sept. 13-Nov 11, 2012.