Peculiar Feminine, Work by Kirsty Little
January 14, 2020 – March 6th, 2020
The exhibition has been extended until March 14th, 2020
Margaret W. & Joseph L. Fisher Art Gallery
Reception: Saturday January 25th, 2020 2-4PM
Artist Talk: Saturday March 7, 2020, 1-3PM
Merriam-Webster Medical Definition of feminine
1 : female. 2 : characteristic of or appropriate or peculiar to women.
The original idea for this exhibit came from the media outburst and never-ending stories of woman’s exploitation at the hands of men both powerful and not, including A list celebrities and prepubescents gymnastics.
Kirsty Little, as a female artist, wants to support women who have to endure because they are woman in today’s unbalanced society. The historical role woman held in society comes into focus with the work in Peculiar Feminine. Ms. Little adds a modern twist to bring the past narrative up to date. Women’s work has been undervalued as they wove, sewed, created the home, bore the children along with a myriad of repetitive chores. Ms. Little uses alternative materials and concepts to emphasize the difficulty of these painstaking but highly skilled laborious tasks that created the backbone of the home and society.
The modern feminine, in all her complexity is examined and redefined with two distinct materials – steel and clay.
Drawing influences from the voracious behavior of the Venus fly trap and the myth of Vagina Dentata, Ms. Little interprets women’s fierce strength of peculiarity by using pure white porcelain fired to form feminine influenced shapes. They are tinted with soft ink, pierced with wax dipped wires and some are elegantly poised on pillows. These sculptures are somewhat floral, anatomical, or a delicate balance of the two. Using velvet pillows and ribbons echoes women’s historical apparel. Each shape is in its own safe space to rest. A powerful beautiful expression of the most delicate female form.
Using rebar tie wire typically was considered part of men’s work, Ms. Little manipulates the tough steel with tools to weave it in a traditional women’s style. She blends tender elements such as velvet and ribbon associated with women’s clothing in counterpoint to the woven steel. She adds wax to further soften the steel echoing the practice of handmade candle making. Using these materials, Ms. Little intentionally softens the appearance of the steel while maintaining its inherent strength, echoing the unsung role of women in the home.
“Peculiar Feminine” is reflective of woman’s struggle for equality in today’s progressive world, which the impossibility to make and use the woven work for its presumed intended task reflects the disconnect women face when silently asking for recognition and respect in the work place and society
Kirsty Little is a former Circus aerialist based in the UK for two decades when a move to USA in 2011 led her to find a new path in the art world and change her style of performance. She is drawn to working with themes of motherhood, organic anatomy and the struggling environment. She makes sculpture with porcelain, wood and wire, and more recently plastic and fish installation.
She is Artist in Residence at Otis St Studios. She currently teaches aerial dance and yoga at Upspring studios, both in Mount Rainer.
Notably she is in the Guinness book of World Records for directing the most aerialists choreographed on silks and has performed at The Theatre Project in Baltimore in aerial collaboration with Jayne Bernasconi. Peculiar Feminine is Kirsty Little’s first gallery exhibition in the United States.
You can find out more about Kirsty and her work by visiting her website http://www.kirstylittle.com/
Follow her on Instagram at @kirstylittlejoy