Material Girls
Riverside Art Museum

The Riverside Art Museum is proud to present an exhibition celebrating conceptual fiber arts created by contemporary women artists.

Artists love materials. Given the chance, they’ll use anything they can find to make their art. Over the last hundred years or so, the modernist movement (or movements) gave artists increasing freedom to go to town with materials. And in the last several decades, in the wake of women’s social liberation, female artists, especially, have turned to the stuff of their daily lives - or at least their mothers’ - to make art that specifically embodies their experiences as women.

Material Girls brings together the work of fifteen artmaking women whose womanhood is part and parcel of their artmaking. Most live and work in southern California, but a few come from as far as New York and Kansas. They translate stuff into shape. They reuse things that appear and disappear in the daily household cycle as in Cathy Breslaw’s floor installations and the symbolic references made by Cindy Rinne’s and Mallory Cremin’s quilted images. The artists of this exhibition make witty and poignant reference to their daily lives as women - wives and mothers, as seen in the panty installation by Lisa Mraz, the dressmaking fantasies of Carol Shaw Sutton and Monica Landeros and the apron abstractions of Ke Sook Lee.

The work assembled for this exhibition also touches on the artists as workers and creative individuals as seen in the sewn collages of Carol Es and Penny McElroy. The unique use of materials range from the cloth diaper installation of Deborah Thomas to the neoprene abstractions of Rosha Yaghmai. Holly Tempo, known for her fiber assemblages, only references the fiber with her hypnotic lace patterned paintings.

These women remember their girlish preoccupations as represented in the patchwork dolls of Mailan Thi Pham, the patterned commentary of Carole Caroompas, and the barbed Barbie elaborations of Orly Cogan. Above all, they capitalize on the associations, social and sensual, personal and universal, that accrue to materials we associate with modern - and post-modern - womanhood.

Material Girls was organized by Riverside Art Museum curators Andi Campognone and Steve Thomas and will be accompanied by a full color catalogue with an essay written by Shana Nys Dambrot..