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Womanhood 102_Main Image.jpg

May 31-June 8, 2024

Opening Reception: Friday, May 31, 6 - 8 PM

Lesley Bodzy  

Katie Commodore

 

Womanhood 102

 

Curated by Erica Criss

37-39 Clinton St NEW YORK

ABOUT

Prerequisite: Womanhood 101. Supplemental readings: “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid (1978) and “Be A Lady They Said” by Camille Rainville (2017).

In Womanhood 101 we studied modes of gender socialization, outlined acceptable behavior for the sexes, and saw many attempts to constrain and box in women. Women passed down rules and unrealistic standards to girls that became reinforced in society through culture and media. Welcome to Womanhood 102 where women speak out. Artists Lesley Bodzy and Katie Commodore's rebellious sculptures, tapestries, paintings, and prints serve as physical retaliation. While the feminist poems “Girl” (1978) by Jamaica Kincaid and  “Be A Lady They Said” (2017) Camille Rainville that both list prescribed model female behaviors, all contradictory—set the tone. Students in Womanhood 102 will be asked to critically consider their role within the processes of learning and unlearning. 

 

“You look so old. Look young. Look youthful. Look ageless. Don’t get old. Women don’t get old. Old is ugly. Men don’t like ugly.” - Rainville

 

In Bodzy’s series FOGO (Fear of Getting Older), she confronts the media’s offensive anti-aging campaigns disregarding women as they age. Newly inflated balloons are encased in silicone and glue to preserve their body's fullness before succumbing to the inevitable. The preservation process highlights what they were trying to avoid—visible signs of deflation. Yet, in their new state, these shriveled and deflated balloons have become more beautiful, more intriguing, and something you want to keep and explore. In her Goddess series, silicone slabs resembling flayed torsos with breasts hang from metal meat hooks. In her Goddess series, silicone slabs resembling flayed torsos with breasts hang from metal meat hooks - a caveat for the lengths women go through to obtain youth offers a glimpse into the female psyche and the effects these pressures have on women’s self-perception.

 

 “...this is how to hem a dress… to prevent yourself from looking like the slut I know you are so bent on becoming.” - Kincaid

 

Commodore’s intimate tapestry portraits rebel against the labels surrounding women’s sexuality by creating an environment in which her subjects are in full control of how they want to present themselves. Each portrait offers a perspective on what makes real women feel sexy, powerful, and happy. Julia, wearing fishnets and a garter belt, sits in a brightly patterned armchair set against a gold wallpaper with large flowers. She is knitting. The judgments from society have been removed, at least for the short time spent posing for the artist. The decorative aspect of Commodore’s work is meant to represent the subject's personality. Her bold designs and colors command just as much attention as the evocative figures, reminding us that women are more than just their bodies and that their personality is just as beautiful as the physical. Sitting in a downward-facing dog position wearing only panties, Sue is covered head to toe in an ornate motif. By containing the design within the boundaries of the body, Commodore takes away the ability to label women without considering all their aspects.

In Womanhood 102, works by Bodzy and Commodore, alongside print-outs of Rainville and Kincaid’s texts, dismantle impossible standards that women are encouraged to aspire to. Womanhood 102 requires you to consider your own experience with the subject matter. Have you been on the receiving end of these lessons, or have you been a perpetrator? To command the mindset of society, women need to heal from the generations of shared trauma that has negatively affected their self-perception and self-worth. To heal, we must make space for the multiplicities that exist within womanhood and allow it to dominate societal perceptions. 

SELECTED IMAGES

INSTALLATION VIEWS  

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Lesley Bodzy is a sculptor and painter based in New York City and Houston. Her work explores the ways in which materiality can give form and visibility to psychologically complex experiences. Trauma, loss, and desire are recurring themes that emerge through material processes and a thoughtfully devised personal metaphorical language. 

She holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA from Mount Holyoke College. She also studied at Hunter College and the Art Students League of New York. Her work is represented by galleries in Houston, TX, Saugerties, NY, Williamsburg, VA, and Jersey City, NJ and has been exhibited widely across the United States and abroad. Past exhibitions include SPRING/BREAK Art Show NYC 2022, ChaShaMa and Sculptors Alliance in New York City, Holy Art Gallery in London, UK, Site:Brooklyn, Emerge Gallery in Saugerties, NY, the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, CT, the Susquehanna Art Museum in Harrisburg, PA, and the Meadows Gallery in Tyler, TX. Recent press includes Art Houston Magazine, Cultbytes, Art Fuse, and Art Spiel.

 

Katie Commodore is an interdisciplinary artist who concentrates on creating intimate portraits of her friends, often focusing on how they express their sexuality. In 2000 Commodore received her BFA in illustration from Maryland Institute College of Art. In 2004 she obtained her MFA in printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design where she is currently an adjunct professor. Commodore has exhibited throughout the United States and Europe, including England, Italy, Germany, and Greece. Her work has been previously featured in a number of group shows presented by The Untitled Space including “(Hotel) XX” at Spring/Break Art Show, “IRL: Investigating Reality” and “Secret Garden”. Other notable exhibitions include “FEMME” presented by Spoke Art and Juxtapoz Magazine, SCOPE Art Fair, “StitchFetish 6” at The Hive Gallery, and “Facing the Walls” at The VETs Gallery. Residencies include ChaNorth, Pine Plains, New York; Red Light Design, Amsterdam, Holland; and One Night Residency, London, England. Commodore has been featured in several publications including The New York Times and Dazed Digital, among others.

 

ABOUT THE CURATOR

 

Erica Criss is an independent curator, web designer, and founder of CRISS Collaborations which offers support to artists, specifically those transitioning from emerging to professional status. Previously, she was the Operations Director of the Manhattan Graphics Center (2015-2021), a non-profit printmaking studio where she curated 10 national and international exhibitions annually.

Some of her most recent curatorial projects include, Leftover and Over, SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2022, NYC, and The Women’s Printmaking Invitational 2022, The Lemmon Visiting Artist Gallery at Kent State University at Stark, featuring one hundred works by 27 contemporary women printmakers. 

Criss received her MFA in Printmaking from Kent State University. She serves on the advisory board of the Society of American Graphic Artists (SAGA), NYC, and acts as webmaster to the K. Caraccio Print Collection, NYC and Robert Kipniss Studio, NYC.

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