I went to *Vulvacular,* a group show at the Ceres Gallery, on 11/14/17. The show was curated by Susan and Kaplow and Pam Shields. Pam is a friend of a friend, we met at a show she had at Ceres last November. Here's a cute picture of the two of us:
I could describe *Vulvacular* to you, but it would be better to quote from the curators statement:
Ceres Gallery is proud to present *Vulvacular,* art that celebrates the power and beauty of the vulva, by 19 artists working in ceramics, drawing, fiber and fabric, painting, wood and collage. The artworks are passionate and playful, sexy and defiant, poignant and spiritual.
Celebrating the vulva is a radical act in a world that values male over female sexual pleasure, tolerates female genital mutilation and views the vulva as ugly and unfit as a subject of art. Celebrating the vulva is a healing gesture in a world where the word "clitoris" is rarely spoken, although this part of the vulva is the source of women's erotic pleasure. Celebrating the vulva is a life-saving necessity at a time when women's power and women's rights are under attack in our country and around the world.
Art - - both the making and the viewing - - is an act of resistance to these anti-woman forces. Making the vulva visible, beautiful, powerful and fierce has empowered the artists whose works comprise the *Vulvacular* show. The curators hope the act of seeing these works will inspire the viewer to recognize the vulva as a source and expression of women's power.
Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the show (more photos at the bottom of the post). We'll start with my favorite, "Coin C-nt Flesh," a coin purse assemblage by Suzanna Scott (my apologies to Scott for not spelling out the second word in the title, I shy away from R-rated words on my website). Pam pointed out (on Facebook) that the word for vagina in Hebrew is "neerteek," the same as the word for case or purse. I loved the classic surrealist wit of this piece.
"Yonification" by Pam Shields, mixed media wooden triptych
"Vasomotor Instability" by Sally Hewett, made of fabric in a quilting hoop.
I texted with Pam after the show, told her about some of the thought-provoking comments I'd been getting in response to my Facebook post. She said, "We were thrilled with the response we received - - so many women artists out there doing vulva art. Some of them had never done anything like this before so it was a real adventure for them. Some made the art but then were hesitant to tell their families about the show - - lots of ambivalence. This is what I discovered with Project S as well - - wanting to be a strong feminist but realizing they were ashamed of their own body."
I found it exciting and inspiring to be in the presence of so much female power This show was not for everyone, but isn't it great that it's there for people who want to see it.
A few more photos:
"Vulva Pods" by Dorothy Black, made of ceramic earthenware, gold luster, and porcelain balls. The viewer was invited to pick them up and shake them - - they made a tinny rattle.
And a piece by the co-curator, Susan Kaplow, "A Goddess For Our Times," made of hand-felted sheep fiber and natural materials.
The show is closing on 11/25/17, but the website, vulvacular.com, will be up for a year.