Shoebox Projects is pleased to announce its sixth artist-in-residents: the collaborative team of Cecelia Caro, Katie Shanks, and Stephanie Sherwood. They are working in the experimental art space in the Brewery Arts Complex as of May 1st with a reception of work completed during the residency to be held on Saturday, June 3rd, from 3-7pm.
Have you ever found yourself wondering about the gender of the artist upon seeing an artwork? Have you ever found an artwork that you very strongly identified with only to be surprised by the gender of the artist who created it?
Material Identity: Making Art on the Gender Continuum seeks to gain insight into how art is experienced in a society which still clings to gender biases and how it impacts what it means to be a female artist navigating and creating in the contemporary art scene.
In March, the artists began seeking feedback via an online questionnaire:
https://goo.gl/forms/RsuoP7ucIo21Bpyv2 which asked contributors to indicate their initial gender specific associations in regards to a variety of art making choices. This was in order to expose and examine internalized biases—and the stereotypes that are perpetuated through their maintenance. Examples were provided in each of the following categories: color, texture, scale, speed, technique, and genre, and contributors were provided the following five options to express their perceived gender bias:
Mostly Feminine Associations
Some Feminine Associations
Some Masculine Associations
Mostly Masculine Associations
Since then, they have received over 100 responses. Using this data, and the materials they have begun to collect and create, the artists will be creating an installation at Shoebox Projects during the month of May. While the survey is by no means comprehensive or scientific, it was fantastic way to begin thinking about preconceived notions we hold about art, who is making it, and how it is created. There are many aspects of the data which the artists plan to address in the piece—one of the most interesting of which is the demographic of the respondents. Those individuals who self-selected to respond to the survey, were predominantly themselves highly educated individuals involved in the arts who identified as either women or nonbinary—giving them a shared background with the artists themselves. Highlighting that perhaps that is the crux of the interest and contemplation of these matters, is a thwarted desire to be able to see oneself in the art that is seen and shown in the art world at large.
The artists conducted a workshop on Saturday, May 20th, where they discussed the survey and asked attendees to take and examine their own internalized biases. From there they discussed their inquiries, findings, and opened up to a wider discussion of gender in the art world before shifting to how to interpret this in the construction of an actual piece of art. The in progress installation was examined, and participants were provided with materials to create their own pieces centered around the conversation.
How will three female artists create a collaborative installation which addresses the nature of gender bias using the language of the artmaking process? Where will they adhere to societal expectations, and how will they subvert them? Visit Shoebox Projects in May and find out!
Cecelia Caro, Katie Shanks, and Stephanie Sherwood met while working on their BFAs in Drawing and Painting at California State University, Long Beach. While working their way through the Drawing and Painting BFA program, they fostered each other’s development as young artists. Since completing their degrees they have remained a strong support system for one another while moving to new cities, developing new bodies of work, and keeping their studio practices as regular as adult life could allow. Katie and Stephanie began collaborating on installation work with their first piece “Unrequited” in March of 2015 and since then have collaborated on several large scale installations as well as a collection of wearable art objects entitled “Meat Market”. Although the artists have very different methods of creating artwork – color, form and drawing have always remained significant their practices.
Shoebox Projects is a new experimental art space in DTLA, where emerging and mid-career artists are given an opportunity to freely experiment with new ideas and directions for their practice. Founded by Kristine Schomaker, multimedia artist and director of Shoebox PR and Art and Cake, Shoebox Projects intends to give artists a chance to recharge and renew their relationship with their work.