Giselle Hicks News

NATURE OF NURTURING | Notes from Director, Leslie Ferrin

NATURE OF NURTURING | Notes from Director Leslie Ferrin

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, this includes the advancement of equality for artists of all genders, eliminating the sexual harassment, wage discrimination, and the 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 priorities as well as open new doors, it is crucial to offer opportunities to artists who have been historically marginalized.

Ferrin Contemporary has invited twelve female artists to pause and reflect on the role gender plays in their artistic practice, to consider the impact of the #MeToo movement, and/or to examine how the constructs of gender and gendered behavior impact their personal and professional lives. Nature assigned these artists who identify as female on a given path, whereas nurture is an accumulation of experiences and influences has had both positive and negative impact on their personal and professional lives.

Individual artworks do not always offer specific references to identity through direct content. However, a close look at the career paths in the short biographies and written statements in this exhibition, Nature/Nurture reveals information about how each of these artists – members of several different generations – has sustained her creative practice. The ceramic artworks in Nature/Nurture converge in a dialogue and accumulation of experiences and influences; they reflect on positive and negative forces shaping contemporary female and non-binary identities. Together, through the artwork, statements and biographies, these women artists who identify as female and are at various stages of their careers, convey different experiences defined by their gender, age, geographic and cultural identities.

Mara Superior, Sally Silberberg, Tricia Zimic have had decades-long careers that began before the two youngest, now in their 30’s were born. Unlike the women who began their career in the 70’s, Crystal Morey and Lauren Mabry and others born in the 80’s are already well established with museums actively acquiring important mid-career works. Linda Sikora and Linda Sormin have balanced their international artistic practices with teaching in University programs. As a graduate student, Linda Sikora was unable to attend a program led by a female professor. Linda Sormin, of the generation following, pursued graduate studies specifically with three leading women artists Linda Sikora, Andrea Gill and Anne Currier. Likewise, Giselle Hicks and Cristina Córdova had the advantage of powerful female faculty and confidence that led to independent paths, establishing their own studio practice supported by periodic short term teaching, unhindered by the politics of full-time academia. International artists, Kadri Pärnamets (Estonia), Rae Stern (Israel) and Anina Major (Bahamas)

have located their practices in the USA where residencies have welcomed them, supported the development of their work and proximity to the marketplace.

For the two artists who began their careers in the 70’s, their education took place in institutions with male-dominated programs. As they began their careers, the studio craft movement provided independent economic security and a “workaround” for women whose chosen media, ceramics, had yet to be embraced by the fine art world. For those who followed beginning their careers in the 90’s and until the market crash in 2008, the glass ceiling showed cracks. Women were hired in academic positions, replacing retiring male faculty as programs were rebalanced to achieve diversity.

Starting in the eighties, studio craft was avidly collected by private collectors through fairs, galleries and directly from the artists themselves. The ultimate goal of self-support through sales was viable for a large number of artists but that ended with the recession. For those who began their professional careers at a time when the market system had collapsed, these artists were ultimately fortunate as a new path opened for work in ceramics when the groundbreaking survey exhibition in 2009, “Dirt on Delight” jettisoned ceramics into the broader field of contemporary fine art in the USA. In addition, the explosion of international biennales inclusive of ceramics and craft that provided context for material based artworks in the broader art scene.

This wide acceptance for ceramics and the other female associated media, fiber arts, has settled the Art vs. Craft debate. For both emerging and established artists whose chosen primary material was previously segregated and independent from the mainstream, these new opportunities for their works have begun to balance the gender and cultural gap of representation at galleries and museums. Foundation support for diversity initiatives have had a significant impact through awards for artist fellowships and new scholarship. For those whose work took the form of vessels or studio pottery, a new generation of curators have embraced their work by making connections between practicing contemporary artists and past masterworks in the areas of decorative arts and design.

Inspired by the important work of Judith Butler and Helen Longino, the artists in this show were invited to explore the influence of ‘Nature/Nurture’ within their practice. Their work ranges from more direct interpretations of the natural world, to more abstract notions, such as the construction of gender, and endowed role of women.  “Possibility is not a luxury; it is as crucial as bread.” ― Judith Butler, Undoing Gender, 2004

Seen as a whole, this group of twelve women artists who live and work throughout the USA, is representative of the rising tide of professional opportunities. 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.

Leslie Ferrin, director Ferrin Contemporary

NATURE/NURTURE
a group exhibition of twelve contemporary female artists invited to explore the influence of gender and its impact on their practice.

Read the NATURE/NURTURE series

NATURE/NURTURE | Group Show of 12 Women Artists
LESLIE FERRIN | Director Notes | Nature of Nurturing
CRISTINA CORDOVA | Nature/Nurture | PBS Craft in America – Identity
GISELLE HICKS | Tiles & Vessels | Teaching Online in the Time of COVID19

LAUREN MABRY | Nature/Nurture | Cylinders & Flow Blocks
ANINA MAJOR | Nature/Nurture | No Vacancy in Paradise
CRYSTAL MOREY | Nature/Nurture | Museum Acquisitions
KADRI PÄRNAMETS | Nature/Nurture | Small Matters and Roots & Pollinators
LINDA SIKORA | Nature/Nurture | On Nurture: Our Social and Political Spaces
MARA SUPERIOR | Nature/Nurture | Museum Acquisitions
RAE STERN | Nature/Nurture | In Fugue
TRICIA ZIMIC | Nature/Nurture | Sins & Virtues

READ MORE HERE.

MORE ON THE ARTISTS

Posted by AxelJ in Blog, News, NOTES FROM DIRECTOR

5 Must-See Ceramics Shows You Can View Online, Artsy, April 29, 2020

“While galleries have temporarily closed worldwide due to COVID-19, we can still get inspired by the work of contemporary artists. As part of Artsy’s Art Keeps Going campaign, we’re featuring exhibitions that you can access via Artsy, with insights from the artists and our writers. This week, we’re sharing a selection of shows featuring ceramics at galleries from Los Angeles to Helsinki…”

“Nature/Nurture” Installation View, Crystal Morey, Mara Superior, Kardi Parnamets, 2020.

Posted by Kim in Artist News, News, Press Coverage
Giselle Hicks Featured in LVBX Magazine

Giselle Hicks Featured in LVBX Magazine

Meet ceramics artist, Giselle Hicks. Her works are subtle and yet strongly moving in their simplicity and depth of beauty. Giselle shares with us why she chose ceramics as a medium, and from where she draws her artistic influence and inspiration. 

Tell us about your background; what drew you to this work? I’ve been working primarily in clay for about 18 years. I received my BFA in Ceramics from Syracuse University and my MFA in Ceramics from NYSCC at Alfred University. There were a few reasons I chose ceramics as my medium. I was fascinated with the rich history. There is a ceramics traditions pretty much anywhere you go in the world, so ceramics was a way for me to learn about different cultural histories and traditions. The medium is pliable and incredibly versatile – I figured I would never get bored using this medium given there is so much to learn – technically and conceptually. I liked that potters tend to be communal. They like to eat together, talk about food, sit around the table, share studio space, equipment and recipes. And lastly, I remember my undergrad professor and his wife always had their doors open to students for meals and to share their collection. This was the first time I saw what it was like to live in a house full of handmade objects. Everything in their house had a story. Their home was very alive, very rich. I wanted to be a part of a life like that. The choice to work in clay was a holistic one – I liked the material, the people around it, the history and the lifestyle it promised….

Giselle Hicks Portrait LVBX Magazine

Posted by AxelJ in Artist News, News

Galleries closed due to COVID-19, but Art must go on!, Beautiful Bizarre, March 17, 2020


 

Galleries closed due to COVID-19, but Art must go on!

Beautiful Bizarre,

March 17, 2020
“Sensibly many galleries around the world have decided to close their doors, cancel opening receptions and operate online or by appointment only, due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In an effort to assist our community in this time of uncertainty and hardship, we are putting together the below list of exhibitions from around the world, whose opening receptions will not go ahead because of the virus shutdowns. In order to promote that these exhibitions ARE STILL HAPPENING…”

Crystal Morey, “Three Graces” 2019, hand-sculpted porcelain, 19 x 10 x 8″.

Posted by Kim in Artist News, News

Giselle Hicks Featured in American Craft Council Magazine

Published on Monday, November 25, 2019. This article appears in the December/January 2020 issue of American Craft Magazine.

Author
Sarah Archer

What if you have an idea for an artwork inspired by Wedgwood ceramics, but you want to make it with paper pulp? Or if you know how to sculpt in clay, but want to make a fishbowl in glass? What if you dream of crafting pillows in porcelain? Artist residencies often attract medium-specific makers who want to spend time doing exactly what they do best, perhaps teaching workshops or giving demonstrations. But what about artists who want to explore something they’re not an expert in? Where the smorgasbord of formal, multidisciplinary art education ends, specialized residency programs begin, offering artists a chance to learn new disciplines and expand their skill sets….

Giselle Hicks residency at the Kohler Arts Center. Kohler Co., courtesy of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

Posted by AxelJ in Artist News, Blog
NATURE/NURTURE: Female ceramists reflect on experiences that shaped them, The Berkshire Eagle, March 13, 2020

NATURE/NURTURE: Female ceramists reflect on experiences that shaped them, The Berkshire Eagle, March 13, 2020

The Berkshire Eagle

by Jennifer Huberdeau

March 13, 2020

“In the late 1970s, group shows, featuring women ceramists were few and far between.

“In 1979, there were no solo shows for women. The numbers today are better, but still bad,” said Leslie Ferrin, gallerist and owner of Ferrin Contemporary.

Back then, Ferrin had just opened Pinch Pottery, a working studio, shop and gallery in Northampton with fellow ceramic artists, Mara Superior and Barbara Walch. Women ceramicists, she said, struggled for recognition, not only because they were female artists, but also because their chosen medium wasn’t as accepted [as fine art] as it is today….”

READ MORE

MORE about NATURE/NURTURE

Posted by Kim in Artist News, News

NATURE/NURTURE on WAMC, March 11, 2020

“Considering the impact that the #MeToo movement is having on all professions, artists were asked to pause and reflect on the role gender plays in their artistic practice and to consider the nurturing experiences that have shaped them. To tell us more, we welcome Senior Curator of Visual Arts at MASS MoCA Susan Cross, an artist featured in Ferrin Contemporary’s “Nature/Nurture” group exhibition Anina Major, and director of Ferrin Contemporary and curator of Nature/Nurture Leslie Ferrin….”

Listen HERE

More on NATURE/NURTURE Exhibition

More on ANINA MAJOR

“Nature/Nurture” Installation View, Giselle Hicks and Tricia Zimic, 2020.

Posted by Kim in Artist News, GISELLE HICKS ARTIST NEWS, News

Ferrin Contemporary featured in The Rogovoy Report

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 HicksLauren MabryAnina MajorCrystal Morey, Kadri PärnametsLinda Sikora, Sally SilberbergLinda SorminMara SuperiorRae 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….”

Rae’ut Stern, Artist Portrait, photo by T. Maxwell Wagner.

Posted by Kim in Artist News, GISELLE HICKS ARTIST NEWS, News
Building 13 Open House at MASS MoCA

Building 13 Open House at MASS MoCA

BUILDING 13 OPEN HOUSE

JOIN US!

 

Celebrate the art and artists in Building 13 at MASS MoCA. View ongoing and new exhibitions, meet artists and see work in process in The Studios at MASS MoCA, and browse the gallery and art library at The Artist Book Foundation.

Thursday, August 24, 2017, 5–7pm
Building 13, 1315 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA
Beer, wine, and refreshments will be served

1st FLOOR
CYNTHIA-REEVES
Ferrin Contemporary

2nd FLOOR
The Studios at MASS MoCA, a program of Assets for Artists
The Artist Book Foundation

FEATURING

 

CYNTHIA-REEVES: Thomas Jackson — exhibition and artist working on-site
Click for more.

Ferrin Contemporary: Sergei Isupov — Selections from Hidden Messages, ceramic sculpture
Click for more.

The Artist Book Foundation: Mary Sipp Green — Summer Vistas and Atmospheric abstracts, autographed copies of Green’s beautiful monograph, “Every Hour of the Light”
Click for more.

The Studios at MASS MoCA by Assets for Artists: Open Studios
Click for more.

• Art in the Building 13 Common Area
Giselle Hicks — tile painting produced at Arts / Industry Kohler Co., former resident artist at Project Art, courtesy of Ferrin Contemporary
Yechel Gagnon — custom-made and hand carved plywood, courtesy of CYNTHIA-REEVES

The Chalet: Bella — live music in MASS MoCA’s riverside beer garden
Bar opens at 5:30pm; events begin around 8pm.
Click for more.

A complex of beautifully restored 19th-century mill buildings, which includes the museum galleries and multi-venue center for the performing arts, the MASS MoCA campus is a constellation of creative artists, innovative programs, cultural institutions, businesses, and lovers of great art, food, and drink who come together to infuse the historic factory setting with vibrant culture and commerce.

Building 13 is located at 1315 MASS MoCA Way, at the south end of the museum campus.

Posted by AxelJ in Events, GISELLE HICKS ARTIST NEWS, Past events, 0 comments