New garment exhibition – ‘Preserve & Protect’ – reveals our ‘shrouded histories’
(Posted on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021)
Austin Peay State University’s The New Gallery, with support from The Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts and the Department of Art + Design, is pleased to present Preserve & Protect to continue an engaging 2021-22 exhibition season.
Co-curated by Michael Dickins, director of The New Gallery, and Erika Diamond, curator and assistant director of CVA galleries at Chautauqua Institution, this exhibition of conceptual garment work looks at the complex ways in which textiles, particularly garments, tell the stories of the past, present, and future. More than just armor for the body, they relay the resilience of a culture – worn for protection but also as a way to proclaim one’s identity.
“Textiles serve to protect us, to tell our stories, and to display our privilege,” Diamond said. “Through recognizable structures in historical fashion and strategic embellishments, these textiles recontextualize and assert shrouded histories. They affirm the value of lives lost due to persistent ideals of colonialism, bigotry, and unequal power structures. They reveal concurrent histories and ask for better futures.”
The exhibit includes works from Michael Sylvan Robinson, Paul Rucker, Stephanie Syjuco, Winnie van der Rijn, and Anangookwe Wolf.
Their works “bear witness to and challenge our shared American history,” Diamond said. “They question whose histories have had the privilege of being heard. They ask for a more inclusive authorship of our shared history. Together, they represent an army of truths. Will we take up this call to arms and begin to protect each other, listen to each other’s stories, and share our abundance of resources?”
The exhibit opens on Monday, Nov. 1, and runs through Dec. 10 at The New Gallery, located in the Art + Design building on the campus of Austin Peay.
“Art often challenges our conventions and beliefs, and sometimes viewing works of art can be uncomfortable,” Dickins said. “Works in this exhibition may be triggering to some. It’s important for our visitors to be aware of this prior to entering the exhibition. But we do welcome all to join us in this conversation.”
Several events accompany the exhibition:
- Diamond will give a curator’s talk at 6 p.m. Nov. 1 in Room 106 A/B of the Sundquist Science Complex. This event is in person but also will be live-streamed, courtesy of CECA. You can register for the live stream at this link.
- A gallery talk with Diamond and Dickins will be 12:15 p.m. on Nov. 2 in The New Gallery.
- Exhibiting artist Paul Rucker will visit campus to give an artist lecture on his work and creative practice at 6 p.m. Nov. 9 in Room 106 A/B of the Sundquist Science Complex. This event is in person, but also will be live-streamed, courtesy of CECA. You can register for the live stream at this link.
This exhibition will be open during the next two Clarksville First Thursday Art Walks from 5-7:30 p.m. on Nov. 4 and Dec. 2.
All events are free and open to the public.
A virtual tour of the exhibition will be available soon at www.apsu.edu/art-design/thenewgallery.
Hours for The New Gallery are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday- Friday, closed on weekends and holidays, and follow the university’s academic calendar.
For more information about this exhibition, which is free and open to the public, contact Dickins at email@example.com.
About the artists
- Michael Sylvan Robinson – An internationally exhibited queer fiber artist, activist and leader in arts education, Robinson earned an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College (2008) and a B.A. from Bennington College (1989) with an emphasis in dance and drama. He is the head of arts at the Poly Prep School in Brooklyn. Originally a costume designer and performance artist, their 2D and 3D contemporary fiber art has been shown in galleries and exhibitions including Rome Art Week 2019 and 2021, the National Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco, and as a semi-finalist for the prestigious Sondheim Prize in Baltimore. Eight of Michael Sylvan Robinson’s recent works were included in “Remnants” at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts (Spring 2021), and their “Priestessing the Work of Healing” wearable art gown was featured in Vogue Germany (April 2021). Learn more at michaelsylvanrobinsonart.com.
- Paul Rucker – Rucker is a multimedia visual artist, composer and musician. His practice often integrates live performance, original musical compositions and visual art installation. For nearly two decades, Rucker has used his brand of artmaking as a social practice, which illuminates the legacy of enslavement in America and its relationship to the current sociopolitical moment. His work is the product of a rich interactive process through which he investigates community impacts, human rights issues, historical research and basic human emotions. Rucker has received numerous grants, awards and residencies for visual art and music. He is a 2012 Creative Capital Grantee in visual art as well as a MAP Fund Grantee for performance. He received a Joan Mitchell Painters & Sculptors Grant and the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, for which he is the first artist in residence at the new National Museum of African American Culture. He is a Guggenheim Fellow, TED Fellow and Senior Fellow, Rauschenburg Fellow, and an iCubed Arts Research Fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the curator for creative collaboration for VCUarts at Virginia Commonwealth University. Learn more at paulrucker.com.
- Stephanie Syjuco – Syjuco works in photography, sculpture and installation, moving from handmade and craft-inspired mediums to digital editing and archive excavations. Using critical wit and collaborative co-creation, her projects leverage open-source systems, shareware logic and flows of capital to investigate issues of economies and empire. Recently, she has focused on how photography and image-based processes are implicated in the construction of racialized, exclusionary narratives of history and citizenship. She was a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., in 2019-2020. She is featured in season nine of the acclaimed PBS documentary series “Art21: Art in the Twenty-First Century.”Recent exhibitions include “Being: New Photography” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; “Public Knowledge” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; “Stephanie Syjuco: Rogue States” at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; and “Disrupting Craft: the 2018 Renwick Invitational” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Born in the Philippines in 1974, Syjuco received her MFA from Stanford University and BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. She is the recipient of a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship Award, a 2009 Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award and a 2020 Tiffany Foundation Award. Her work has been exhibited widely, including at MoMA/P.S.1, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, ZKM Center for Art and Technology, the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, The 12th Havana Bienal, The 2015 Asian Art Biennial (Taiwan), among others. A long-time educator, she is an associate professor in sculpture at the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Oakland, California. Learn more at stephaniesyjuco.com.
- Winnie van der Rijn – Van der Rijn is a multidisciplinary artist of opportunity – collecting materials, experimenting with techniques and pursuing her curiosities. Her art practice includes textiles, sculpture, collage and collaboration (which she considers its own art form). Van der Rijn actively exhibits her work throughout the United States. A lifelong learner, she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1989 with a B.A. in Sociology. She has studied printmaking, sculpture, metalsmithing and Marxist theory. In addition, van der Rijn has explored weaving, machine knitting, bookmaking, altars, exploding picture boxes, automata, shoemaking, millinery, sewing, fusing, stamping, metal weaving, resin, riveting, precious metal clay and mixed media. Van der Rijn, a seventh generation Californian, is based in New York City. Learn more here at winnievanderrijn.com.
- Anangookwe Wolf – Wolf is an interdisciplinary artist who interweaves narratives of familial Dakota history in relation to cultural inheritance and present-day afflictions. By utilizing traditional and contemporary forms of craft, connecting the past and present, their main focus is to create a visual story of the interpersonal lives of those they’ve known and have never met for the future generation. Wolf attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and earned a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico. They are working toward a master of arts from Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina. Learn more at www.anangookwewolf.com.
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