SHE DANCES LIKE A BOMB
October 29, 2021–January 20, 2022
CURATOR & PRESS PREVIEW
Wednesday, October 27, 1–4pm
Friday, October 29, 5–7pm
(October 2021) Artists Debra Baxter and Dawn Cerny curate this national group show of sculptors who are linked to Bard College’s legendary MFA program. She Dances Like A Bomb unites a remarkable circle of women sculptors who challenge the legacies of minimalism and postminimalism from many angles. An Opening Reception with Debra Baxter will be held on Friday, October 29, 5–7pm.
She Dances Like A Bomb, titled after a line from the Emily Dickinson poem “The Soul has Bandaged moments,” highlights the vitality of creative community. “It has to do with the power of women that might be underestimated,” says artist and curator Debra Baxter. “I see it as an explosive way of telling the truth. For years, my work has been about the female voice. It historically makes people uncomfortable when women emote, but we are powerful and there is sacredness in our truth.” Baxter, who is based in Santa Fe, has been represented by form & concept since the gallery’s founding in 2016. She conceived of She Dances Like A Bomb with former Bard College MFA classmate Dawn Cerny, and they set about building a Bardian family tree of sorts. The exhibition’s roots extend to the early days of Bard’s MFA sculpture program, which was established in 1981 as part of Bard’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.
“Several generations of Bard sculpture professors and students appear in this show,” says Gallery Director Jordan Eddy. “It’s a constellation of objects interlinked by bright lines of inspiration.” At the center of this artistic legacy is Nancy Shaver, who has taught in Bard’s MFA sculpture program for over 20 years and contributes two sculptures to the exhibition. Her work in the show, which incorporates available or “unworthy” materials such as painted cardboard, paper and wooden blocks, exemplifies a shared ethos among the artists. “In the spirit of postminimalism—and in opposition to minimalism—these artists are scavengers and inventors,” says Eddy. “But that’s just one springboard for their contemporary experiments.”
Through every artwork, Baxter and Cerny highlight the exploratory nature of their creative lineage. Julia Klein (Class of 2009) simultaneously nods to her influences and charges past them in Haunches Chariot, a response to the sculptural work of Cy Twombly in clay, glue string and wire. Taylor Davis, who has been the sculpture co-chair for Bard’s MFA program since 2003, shreds fairytale paradigms in Cinderella Bambi, a spectacularly fringed sculpture in leather paint and dyed suede. Baxter’s latest solo show Love Tears appears in an adjoining room, further contextualizing She Dances Like A Bomb but also expanding its vernacular through the use of “forever” materials such as bronze and gemstones. The two exhibitions represent a far-flung but tight network of women, supported by each other and triumphant in their individual practices. That is, indeed, a bomb worth setting off in a male-dominated art world still catching up to women’s profound contributions to art, craft and design.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Debra Baxter (Co-curator) is a sculptor and jewelry designer who combines carved alabaster with crystals, minerals, metals and found objects. She received her MFA in Sculpture from Bard College in 2008 and her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1996. She also studied at Academia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. Baxter has received an Artist Trust Individual Artist Grant, three 4Culture Individual Project Grants in Seattle, Washington, and is the 2019 recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grants. Her work has been exhibited at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Memphis Metals Museum, TN; and Tacoma Art Museum, WA, among others. Baxter’s wearable sculpture Devil Horns Crystal Brass Knuckles (Lefty) can be found in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery.
Dawn Cerny (Co-curator) is a multidisciplinary based in Seattle. Cerny received her MFA in Sculpture at the Milton Avery School of Art at Bard College and works across the disciplines including drawing, photography, publication and time-based media. Her recent works on paper and in sculpture examine the formal articulation of value and power—or lack thereof—through everyday gestures, bodily postures and personal aesthetic choices. Dawn’s work has been exhibited at many venues including Seattle Art Museum, WA; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA; Portland Art Museum, OR; Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; and Derk Eller Gallery, NY. She has received a Washington State Artist Fellowship, Betty Bowen Special recognition award and The Behnke Foundation Brink Award.
Taylor Davis, best known for her wood sculptures, explores issues of orientation, space, identity and perception. In addition to her MFA from Bard College, Davis earned her Diploma of Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and a BS of Education from Tufts University. She has received numerous awards and grants including a Radcliffe Fellowship, an Association of International Art Critics Award and an Institute of Contemporary Art Boston Artist Prize. Articles and reviews include The New York Times, The Washington Post, Art in America, Artforum and The Boston Globe, among others.
Beka Goedde is a sculptor and printmaker whose work explores duration, the perception of change and movement in physical space. In addition to her MFA from Bard, Goedde holds a BA from Columbia University in Behavioral Neuroscience and Philosophy. Goedde has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, JTHAR, Millay Colony and PS122, and is the recipient of a 2015 Community Arts Fund grant from Brooklyn Arts Council. Goedde is currently on the faculty of the Studio Arts department at Bard College.
Julia Klein has exhibited her sculpture work nationally, and has participated in a number of fellowships and residencies, including the 2018-19 Chicago Jewish Artists Fellowship. She received a BFA from the University of Michigan and an MFA from Bard College. In 2009, Klein founded Soberscove Press in an effort to make art historical materials accessible to a non-specialist audience.
Elisa Lendvay combines found objects with materials like acrylic, papier-mâché and wire to explore the interplay between sculpture and painting. Her work has been exhibited nationally and included in Artforum (Critic’s picks), T Magazine, Time Out NY, Two Coats of Paint and the Huffington Post. Lendvay has been awarded honors from the Edward F. Albee Foundation, the New York Foundation of the Arts, the Santa Fe Art Institute, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Center and the Dallas Museum of Art, among others.
Nancy Shaver seeks to highlight the pathways between a mass-market and hand-made object’s recognizable use in the world and the experience of thought or pleasure it may produce. Her work has been exhibited at institutions internationally, including La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy; MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, among several others. Shaver has taught in Bard’s MFA program for over 20 years.
Amanda Wojick works with ordinary materials such as paper, glue, wood and tape to investigate the friction between public and private space, as well as the politics and potentials of materiality. Wojick is the recipient of national fellowships and awards from the MacDowell Colony, Mass MoCA, the Ucross Foundation, and Ford Family Foundation, among others. Her work can be found in the public colections of the Portland Art Museum and the Tacoma Art Museum. Wojick is an Associate Professor and co-chair of the Sculpture program at the University of Oregon.
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