"Ophelia Rising," photopolymer intaglio, 23" x 17", 2017

Still from Ophelia Buoyant, video, 2018

Fleisher Art Memorial: Wind Challenge 1

October 5 to November 9, 2018

Opening reception, October 5, 6-9PM

Community Event, November 2, 6-7PM

The Fleisher Wind Challenge is made possible with thanks to generous support from the Wind Foundation and Fleisher members. Wind Challenge Exhibition Series are held from September through May, featuring the work of exceptional artists living in the Philadelphia region. The Wind Challenge Exhibitions is an annual juried competition that is committed to enriching and expanding people’s lives through art. 

Fleisher Art Memorial
719 Catharine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147-2811

215-922-3456 ext. 300
[email protected]
http://fleisher.org/contact/

http://fleisher.org/exhibitions/40th-annual-wind-challenge-exhibition-series/

My Ophelia Rising exhibition shows women in water, whether in states of despair, reverie, relaxation, self-soothing, or grace.  In a series of photopolymer intaglio prints, I portray my body and that of young collaborators in my bathtub adorned with flowers.  I invited these collaborators to contribute written statements that reflect experiences of their bodies and states of mind.  The bathtub symbolizes a locus of safety and self-care in the current political climate of the United States our administration that is stripping away the tenets of American democracy. 

The submersion in water speaks to purification rituals from many religions and cultures, as well as the nineteenth century interest in the theme of bathers favored by many early Modernist artists.  I took original inspiration from the representation of Shakespeare’s character Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais, which forecasted the tragic death of the artist’s model, Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall.  The women in my images, in addition to myself, possess physical qualities quite opposite those of the pale-skinned models favored by nineteenth century European, male artists.  I celebrate the beauty of brown, ochre, and olive skin against porcelain.

The name Ophelia derives from a Greek word ophelos that signifies "help”, and I am interested in creating a space of sanctuary that helps us in a time of crisis.  My video, “Ophelia Buoyant,” presents three women engaging with the ocean and it references a cycle of generations.  Water on earth gave birth to life, and some scientists claim that this same water emerged in the universe before it even came to our planet.  Shifting from the intimate bathtub space to the Atlantic ocean, the need for self-care extends to the larger environment and the preservation of our waters that give life and healing.


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