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Faith Wilding: Natural Parables

Fall 2020

Monroe-Brown Gallery


Organized by Indra K. Lācis, PhD
Director of Exhibitions

Iconic and influential, trans-media artist, writer, activist, and educator, Faith Wilding works at the intersection of feminism and social justice, cyberfeminism, biotechnology, eco-feminism, and radical pedagogy. On view at the Richmond Center this coming fall, the exhibition Natural Parables comprises two major bodies of work—one from the 1980s which features watercolor/drawing hybrid works paired with oil-on-panel paintings shaped like pods; and another body of work titled Paraguay: Republica de la Soya through which the artist examines her birth country’s ecological crisis.

Paired with Mimi Kato’s solo show in the front half the Albertine Monroe-Brown gallery, Faith Wilding’s Natural Parables is staged here at the Richmond Center as part of a celebration and acknowledgement of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, an historic occasion celebrated by museums and galleries across the United States this year. Nodding to the fundamental connection between humanity and the environment, Natural Parables highlights a range of themes, including the transformative power of language and mythology; female imagery and paganism; Romantic poetry; environmental politics and destructive farming practices.

About the artist Faith Wilding is Professor Emerita of performance art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a graduate faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a visiting scholar at the Pembroke Center, Brown University. Born in Paraguay, Wilding received her BA from the University of Iowa and her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Wilding was a co-initiator of the Feminist Art Programs in Fresno and at Cal Arts, and she contributed “Crocheted Environment” and her “Waiting” performance piece to the historic Womanhouse exhibition.

Her work has been exhibited extensively over the last five decades including the seminal survey WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, organized by Cornelia Butler, which traveled from the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles) to the National Museum of Women (Washington DC), PS1 Contemporary Art Center (Long Island), and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Additionally, Wilding’s work has been exhibited at Reina Sofia Museum (Madrid); Centre for Contemporary Arts (Glasgow); Bronx Museum of Art (New York); The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York); the Armand Hammer Museum (Los Angeles); The Drawing Center (New York); Documenta X (Kassel); the Singapore Art Museum. Publications include By Our Own Hands: The History of the Women Artists Movement in Southern California, 1970-76 (Double X, 1977) and Domain Errors! Cyberfeminist Practices! (Autonomedia, 2003). Wilding was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2009 and has been the recipient of two individual media grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2014, she was awarded the prestigious Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award. Most recently, her work was included in Fiber: Sculpture 1960 to Present exhibition that originated at the ICA in Boston; her Crocheted Environment, 1972/1995, was shown in Art_Textiles at The Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, England (and it graced the cover of the catalog); as well as in Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A., organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA in 2017.

Faith Wilding’s work was recently the subject of a traveling retrospective, Fearful Symmetries, that featured a selection of works from her studio practice spanning the past forty years, highlighting a range of works on paper – drawings, watercolors, collage and paintings – exhibited together for the first time. Curated by Shannon Stratton and first presented at Threewalls in Chicago, the show traveled to Houston, Memphis and Los Angeles, where it was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly and received a Critic’s Pick in Artforum. Wilding lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island.

Opening reception & preview for lenders, exhibition partners, Richmond Center members and Frostic School of Art students:  TBA MyWMU.com/FriendsofRCVA