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.
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.