Bonds of Love
Opening August 18- September 24
Scroll to the bottom of page for some of the BOL Review's
JOHN CONNELLY PRESENTS
suites #312, #1003, #1023
Bonds of Love is an all women curtatorial project and catalogue by Lisa Kirk, designed for John Connelly Presents opening August 18-Sept 24, 2005. The artists selected include Laura Anderson Barbata, Fiona Banner, Anne Collier, Camille Norment, Tara Mateik, Josephine Meckseper, Marilyn Minter, Aleksandra Mir, Kati Heck, Laura Parnes, Maria E. Piñeres, Goody-B. Wiseman, and Sherry Wong. With texts by Lia Gangitano, Chris Kraus, Shelley Marlow and Lisa Jaye Young.
"Interestingly enough, when we do succeed in reaching that enhanced state of awareness, it is often in a context of sharpened awareness of others--of their unique particularity and independent existence. The reciprocal relationship between self and other can be compared with the optical illusion in which the figure and ground are constantly changing in relation even as their outlines remain clearly distinct--as in Escher's birds, which appear to fly in both directions. What makes the drawings visually difficult is a parallel to what makes the idea of self-other reciprocity conceptually difficult: the drawing asks us to look two ways simultaneously, quite in opposition to our usual sequential orientation […]. Although this requires a rather laborious intellectual reconstruction, intuitively, the paradoxical tension of this way and that way "feels right."
And the curatorial task, Bonds of Love, feels right to Lisa Kirk, too, as her intuitive investigation of the historically problematic construction of the all-women exhibition--looking the other way, if you will--just can't be resisted. That is, if one would like to raise some resistance to the fact that exhibitions excluding women are rarely met with any question or stigma at all. This "sharpened awareness" of the "independent existence" of exhibitions delineated by traditional gender categories (all-male, all-female), and their reception (loaded, in the case of all-female; or ambivalent, in the case of all-male) is also part of Kirk's project.
That an exhibition of women artists is tacitly presumed as a feminist project--while not necessarily a bad thing, in my opinion--is simply not always accurate. This type of exhibition making, however, does tend to force the question: are you, or aren't you, a "feminist"--a question many women artists have tired of answering, as being a feminist, or making feminist art, are not even one in the same. Fully into a third generational wave, with the specter of post- status looming, the complexity of this question’s meaning is not easily extrapolated. But somehow its answers continue to be oversimplified as statements of reactionary positions--for or against. It is interesting to note that seemingly oppositional political labels are not ascribed to exhibitions comprised of male artists, or even to those that directly address masculinity as their topic. Bonds of Love, perhaps, is just asking, in 2005, why.
Can Bonds of Love be something more than an all-women exhibition occurring in a predominantly male gallery? This resolute and awkwardly placed question furthers Kirk 's unabashed infiltration into to the social and cultural domain of exhibition-making--confronting its misimpressions head-on by assembling a diverse group of artists who each, in their own way, present experience-based works that demand consideration of the viewer’s role in supplying the answer--exposing the limits of active/passive spectatorship.
excerted from LISA KIRK'S BONDS OF LOVE, by Lia Gangitano, 2005