by Jonel Juste for Artburst Miami
Art has long been a means of exploring and depicting the female physique, and this fascination with femininity remains as relevant today as ever. An exhibition in Miami Design District titled “Still There Are Seeds to Be Gathered” features works by eighteen female artists who use their art to explore the female body.
The exhibition takes its name from the final sentence of Ursula Le Guin’s 1986 short text, “The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction”. The text posits that vessels, rather than weapons, were the primary tool for the evolution of humankind, according to Karen Grimson who co-curated the exhibition with Laura Novoa, in collaboration with the Bakehouse Art Complex and TheCollective62.
“Following Le Guin’s text, the history of our survival is seen as a by-product of our ability to contain and protect, underscoring the fundamental agency of women’s bodies as containers of emotions, organs, and voices,” indicates Grimson.
The exhibition explores how female artists embrace “heroism as a notion informed by the collective, prioritizing care over power, propelled by the desire for mutual consideration and respect, and grounded in generative and restorative frameworks for the sake of all rather than destructive ones for the sake of one (i.e., the sword),” adds co-curator Laura Novoa.
“Still There Are Seeds to Be Gathered” showcases works by artists such as Joyce Billet, Rose Marie Cromwell, Carolina Cueva, Bernadett Despujols, Giannina Dwin, Naomi Fisher, Nereida García Ferraz, Marina Font, Amy Gelb, Jeanne Jaffe, Carol Jazzar, Rhea Leonard, Amanda Linares, Jillian Mayer, Jul Morsella, Shawna Moulton, Smita Sen, and Nina Surel.
Through various mediums such as painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, and performance, these Miami female creators represented or utilized their own bodies as fragments, vessels, and collective voices to explore corporeality in their works.
The Miami Design District exhibit, indicates Karen Gimson, was inspired by the community of local artists in Miami and their collective organization, reflected in studio complexes such as Bakehouse Art Complex and The Collective 62.
“In our curatorial approach, we attempted to mimic the way artists organize and support each other, working frequently within a horizontal structure.”
To the curator, highlighting women artists is a crucial concern year-round. Women’s History Month is just an annual reminder of the reparations needed on the historical exclusion and disparity that affect our contributions.
“In most places around the world, International Women’s Day is a day of strike, a call to protest the systemic injustices that affect women. Our exhibition contributes to this combative movement on a symbolic level by showcasing the transformative contributions of our local community of women artists,” she declares.
Carol Jazzar, one of the exhibitors, started her artistic journey using collages as a medium to depict what she had gone through, from breakdown to breakthrough. “It was like a revelation,” she says.
“This medium has since been a means for inner exploration and self-development; I am continuously finding news methods and new messages,” indicates Jazzar, an interdisciplinary Miami artist whose work is based on Nature, be it her own inner nature, or that of Mother Nature.
In her latest series of collages that she presents in the exhibit, Jazzar cut out body pieces to re-create a form or a “character,” that in a way, represents a facet of her “persona.” The entire series of 60 pieces, she says, depicts “all the inner ‘characters’ I found within. They all helped me see my wholeness and simultaneously what I had perceived as ‘holes.”’
Another artist, Nina Surel, who described herself as a “multidisciplinary artist whose work can be described as a never-ending research of the deepest corners of the collective unconscious from a decidedly feminist point of view,” invites women to reflect, speak, and mediate on their feminine states producing art that reflects their lives and experiences, as well as to change the foundation for the production and perception of contemporary art.
Surel presents Gravida, a video that explores the notion of fertility, pregnancy and birth, a stoneware body vessel from “Core”, a series of pieces she individually molded on the women’s pelvis, and “Le Bain, a ceramic mural.
“I’m interested in the rite of passage and the relation of ceramic and the human body. I connect not only to the everyday struggles of being a woman in a man’s world, but also to the realms of myths and archetypes, and psychology,” Surel explains.
The exhibition, concludes Karen Grimson, aims to highlight the richness and breadth of Miami’s artistic ecosystem, which is made up of incredibly talented and supportive collectives and independent artists.
The curator hopes that the exhibition will ignite new dialogues by bringing together artists working in various mediums across different generations, and that it will promote notions of sorority and collective thinking within the local community.
The exhibit ends on March 31, 2023.
Photos: 1. Grace & Restraint by Smita Sen. Photo credit Miami Design District. 2.The evolution of the woman kind by artist Marina Font. Photo credit Miami Design District