(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Nature/Nurture, an exhibition featuring works by a dozen contemporary female artists exploring the influence of gender and its impact on their practice, opens at Ferrin Contemporary on the MASS MoCA campus on Wednesday, March 4, and runs through Saturday, March 28. An opening reception will be held on Friday, March 20, 5:30 – 7:30pm.
Nature/Nurture includes work by Cristina Córdova, Giselle Hicks, Lauren Mabry, Anina Major, Crystal Morey, Kadri Pärnamets, Linda Sikora, Sally Silberberg, Linda Sormin, Mara Superior, Rae Stern, and Tricia Zimic.
The timely exhibition explores ideas that range from direct interpretations of the natural world to more abstract notions, such as the construction of gender and the endowed role of women within their personal and professional careers. Works in clay range in form from individual vessels to composed still lifes and figural and abstract sculpture.
Gallery director Leslie Ferrin chose a group of twelve female artists whose works and careers provide a range of diverse perspectives related to age, cultural identity and work being done in contemporary ceramics. Considering the impact that the #MeToo movement is having on all professions, Ferrin asked the artists to pause and reflect on the role gender plays in their artistic practice and to consider the nurturing experiences that have shaped them.
Ferrin writes, “A renewed awareness and galvanizing commitment for change is surging through American cultural and academic institutions, organizations and businesses of every sort, exposing the crying need for structural change; specifically, the advancement of equality for artists of all genders and elimination of sexual harassment, wage discrimination and other forms of sexism that continue to affect the lives of women, transgender and non-binary individuals. As part of the movement to reverse and rebalance with new priorities and opening doors, it is crucial to offer opportunities to artists who have been historically marginalized.”
Nature assigned these artists, who identify as female, on a given path, whereas nurture is an accumulation of experiences, influences and impact with both positive and negative results on personal and professional lives.
Seen as a whole, this group of twelve women artists, who live and work throughout the U.S., is representative of the rising tide of professional opportunities for women artists. While significant earnings and advancement gaps remain, a course correction is underway through the increasing number of gender and culturally specific exhibitions. As priorities shift for museum collections, educational public programming and private collectors, these efforts to course correct are bringing recognition to artists previously overlooked and undervalued and to undocumented legacies. Nature/Nurture seeks to contribute to and further this recognition.
This show and the opening reception is in conjunction with FORERONT2020: Women in the Visual Arts, Symposia and Exhibition, taking place March 20-21, 2020. Directed by CYNTHIA-REEVES, this initiative is in collaboration with Ferrin Contemporary, The Artist’s Book Foundation and The Studios at MASS MoCA. Exhibitions featuring women artists will take place throughout the MASS MoCA campus.