To conclude the gallery’s 30th Anniversary exhibition program, the Elizabeth Leach Gallery is pleased to present Body Gesture, an exhibition of historical and contemporary feminist art. This exhibition will feature several artists whose representations of the human body, as well as their physical art making processes, evoke the political. The exhibition will be on view November 22, 2011 - January 28, 2012, with a First Thursday reception on January 5, 2012, from 6 - 8 pm.
The late 1960s and 1970s saw the emergence of what, today, is typically referred to as “Feminist Art.” Rooted in the concurrent women’s rights movement of the 1970s, Feminist Art functioned, in part, as an articulation of the methods and objectives of the political movement. Through their work many female artists of this era critiqued prevailing power structures, took increasing ownership of their personal sexuality, exploited assumptions about domesticity, and highlighted the institutional marginalization of women and minorities. These artists employed, and radicalized, many of the same formal and conceptual strategies practiced by their male contemporaries. Ultimately, Feminist artists’ multidisciplinary, performance-based practices, engagement with process-oriented and conceptual methods, and use of film and video proved to be remarkably influential on subsequent generations of artists, both male and female. In fact, the argument could be made that Feminist Art definitively altered contemporary art, shifting the conversation back toward narrative and personal experience, while aiding in the legitimization of performance, video art, and multidisciplinary practices. However, as the visibility of the political Feminist movement has decreased, so too has the prominence of Feminist Art waned. By pairing works by important female artists of the 1970s and 1980s with work by emerging female artists Body Gesture attempts to investigate the role of Feminism in art today.