Pretty Tough: Contemporary Storytelling
June 21, 2009, to January 3, 2010
Pretty Tough Exhibition Brochure [PDF]
Ten women with a point of viewnine artists and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museums new curator, Mónica RamírezMontagutopened the exhibition Pretty Tough: Contemporary Storytelling at the Museum on June 21, 2009.
The exhibition highlights the recent proliferation of women artistsin this case Ambreen Butt, Kate Clark, Orly Cogan, Amy Cutler, Kyung Jeon, Catarina Leitão, Rosana Palazyan, Liliana Porter, and Stacey Steerswho reclaim storytelling as a strategy to address contemporary discussions on warfare, the environment, and female struggles in their work.
Each of the artists in the exhibition focuses on narrative representation and figuration. Their fairytalelike depictions are in reality reflections of underlying conflicts explored through refined, delicate, and meticulous workincluding handcrafted pop-up booklets, watercolor and gouache paintings on rice paper, reembroidered vintage textiles, taxidermic sculptures, toy assemblages, and a video of animated collages.
Curator Mónica RamírezMontagut points out, The artists look back at traditional modes of expression, such as storytelling, as well as employing oldfashioned techniques that require laborintensive processesobsessive, elaborate, yet impeccably manufactured. This highly stylized workprettyoffers profound assessments of our contemporary worldtoughby relying on storytelling. This unique combination of methods is a subversive strategy that permeates the public sphere more effectively than confrontational discourses.
The exhibition will be on view through January 3, 2010. The public were invited to Meet the Artists and to celebrate the exhibition on June 21, when RamírezMontagut moderated a panel discussion entitled Stories in the Making, featuring artists Kate Clark, Kyung Jeon, and Catarina Leitão.
additional images | click to enlarge
Stacey Steers, Night Flight (film still from Phantom Canyon), 2006
Courtesy of ClampArt, New York
Rosana Palazyan, Untitled (the handerkerchief series) (detail), 1996
Collection of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
Catarina Leitão, Uplift (the second of seven letter-press printed and hand painted booklets, edition of 5), 2008
Courtesy of the artist
Liliana Porter, Untitled with black and white paint, 2008
Courtesy of the artist and Hosfelt Gallery, New York and San Francisco
Kyung Jeon, Chapter 6: Blinded by clouds of sorrow the girl falls over cliff's edge., 2008
Courtesy Tina Kim Gallery, New York
Amy Cutler, Multiplicity, 2007
Collection of the artist
Courtesy LESLIE TONKONOW ARTWORK + PROJECTS, New York
Ambreen Butt, The Great Hunt [from the series Dirty Pretty (1)], 2008
Courtesy Anna Kustera Gallery, New York
Pretty Tough: Contemporary Storytelling is made possible, in part, by support from The Coby Foundation, Ltd. Museum funding provided, in part, by the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Special thanks to the opening weekend event sponsors: Collyer Catering, Ridgefield Magazine, HSBC Bank, WSHU Public Radio, and the Harry Zarin Fund.
Image: Kate Clark, Lit from Within, 2009