Activism and Social Change
Women and Their Work
Space One Eleven
September 7th -December 29th 2017
This first exhibition, Women with their Work I: Affect + Action, features artists that address a multitude of pressing issues including institutionalized racism, water pollution, the atrocities of war, and the subjugation of female bodies. In so doing, it asks viewers to consider the various relationships between affect and action. While not all of these women may explicitly think of themselves as activist artists, their work exposes injustices on local, national, and international levels.
As a noun, affect means a particular mental state, emotion, or even an intention. To affect is to act on or to produce a change in. Action suggests that something occurs, is done or performed. In what ways then do these artworks produce or embody an affect? How too do they affect us and to what extent can or do they elicit action?
Rosa Naday Garmendia’s ongoing project, Rituals of Commemoration (2014-2017), perhaps most explicitly embodies the themes of this exhibition. She inscribes the names of victims of police violence upon bricks, beginning with Arthur Lee McDuffie, who was beaten to death by police officers in Miami in 1979. In this way, she not only honors the dead by naming them, but invites viewers to participate in the mourning process. The bricks become both tombstones, markers of individuals lost, and building blocks in the foundations of communities who must find solutions to move forward. Garmendia approaches her subject matter through the more abstract form of language, the inscribed bricks functioning as a meditation on racial violence and commemoration of its victims.