Herself Exhibition Photo
One of the interesting parts about programming and curating a gallery space is facilitating conversations: between both people and artworks. In the gallery space, works of art not only respond to and inform each other of their meaning, but exhibitions do the same. Our experience of an exhibition is marked by what we have seen and what we will see. Curating recognizes that no art object and no art space exists in a vacuum. Simultaneous art shows don’t always have to complement each other, but they should enhance each other.
Last week, the Lexington Art League closed two major shows: Herself and Unsought Discoveries. In Herself, we saw how 17 different artists explored female experiences from multiple perspectives and dimensions. A series of sculptures, paintings, and multi-media art pieces examined the various and complex ways in which the feminine experience is embodied. In Unsought Discoveries, we saw artist Benjamin MacKethan explore the materiality and possibility of woods and ceramics. MacKethan demonstrated how art objects are the result of a collaboration between the artist’s aims and a medium’s limits.
Ben MacKethan "Ascension"
When I was reflecting on these shows this week, I was thinking about the Feminist theories course I’m currently taking. At the beginning of this course, we focused on Standpoint Theory:
the idea that an individual’s perspectives are shaped by their social and political experiences. Standpoint Theory recognize that each point of view is unique and multifaced; informed by a person’s class, race, sex, gender expression, and ability. No two points of view can ever be the same, meaning that every point of view is an essential and necessary part of a broad understand of the world. From a Feminist perspective, Standpoint Theory recognizes that women’s experiences, while traditionally de-valued, are vital. It proposes that women, because of their historical oppression within a patriarchal system, are better equipped to understand the system.
Herself amplified women’s experiences and showed how each woman’s experience is uniquely embodied. Unsought Discoveries showed how the creation process is defined by conscious and unconscious actions. In my experience, both shows reflected who we are as individuals. Each of us is the unique result of a negotiation between our own desires, our own limits, and the visible and invisible systems we’re enmeshed in. Because of this, each of us (but especially women and the historically marginalized) have perspectives that can and must be heard.
Addendum: After writing this, I started to reflect on the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. As I think about the necessity of women’s perspectives, I am grateful for people like Ruth Bader Ginsberg who demonstrated that justice for women means justice for everyone. As a champion for women’s rights, she showed how listening to the experiences of those historically marginalized is vital for a just society.
Author: Aaron Reynolds
Aaron Reynolds is the curatorial intern for the Lexington Art League. He holds a bachelor’s degree in art history and visual studies from the University of Kentucky, and is now working towards an MFA in curatorial studies.
Photo Owned By, Faville Donahue
Greetings everyone! My name is Faville Donahue and I am the new Assistant Director with the Lexington Art League. I officially joined the staff this May after having been an intern with the League last fall during my final semester of graduate school. My road to the Loudoun House and the Art League was certainly not a straight line and was not where I thought I would be when I was 20 years old and jumping around majors in undergrad.
I grew up in Salvisa Kentucky with two parents who instilled a life-long love of the arts and I cannot tell you how many hours I spent putting odd little things together in my father’s woodshop. When I first started college at the University of Kentucky in 2001 I wanted to get an art degree, then I thought that I would pursue forestry, then biology, and then I just wasn’t sure so I was undeclared. No matter what, I was always taking art classes. Then life intervened and I had to leave school without having finished a degree. But, things have a way of working out. It took three rounds of undergrad (and 16 years) and I finally finished a degree in sculpture. I found that I just was not going to be happy doing anything else and that the arts are where I am meant to be.
Most of my personal artwork is made from various metals and I typically utilize forging, fabrication, and foundry techniques to make what I envision. I also like to work with leather, weaving, and laser-cut wood when I want to work with materials that do not require that I set things on fire. Though, I really do like working with fire. Funnily enough, my father (the woodworker) has always been bummed that I fell in love with metal working as he has a beautifully equipped woodshop that I have very little use for.
Anyways, as soon as I finished my bachelor’s degree I applied to the Arts Administration graduate program at UK and, despite my less than stellar major-hopping transcript, I was accepted and graduated summa cum laude in December 2019. It is my greatest desire to further the arts in Kentucky and to be the best advocate that I can. I love working with the Art League and I am glad to be a part of Art for Everyone!
Other fun tidbits: I love science fiction (Star Trek is the BEST), my son is named after one of my favorite sci-fi authors, I live way out in the country with a veggie garden and lots of flowers, we have two dogs (a 1 ½ year old english setter and a geriatric walker coon hound), we also have two lazy cats, I got married last fall and it has been a blast so far, I love making spaghetti sauce from scratch, I recently fell into the black-hole that is Animal Crossing, I have a house full of spider plants that are all from one plant that I bought about 18 years ago for my first apartment, and we have more books than fit on our bookshelves.
Author: Faville Donahue
Assistant Director of the Lexington Art League
Public Gallery Hours
Saturday 12pm - 5pm
Viewings also available by appointment
The Loudoun House
209 Castlewood Dr.
Lexington, Ky. 40505
All Lexington Art League programs are made possible through the generous support of LexArts.
The Kentucky Arts Council, a state arts agency, provides operating support to the Lexington Art League with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support provided by Lexington Parks & Recreation.