“Claudia DeMonte: Everyday Matters” is on view at the Katzen Art Museum through December 12, 2010. In addition to being an artist, DeMonte is a professor, curator, and consultant. The exhibition includes various media, including sculpture, photographic work, ceramic, and fabric. Most of the artworks in the exhibition utilize representations of commonplace objects to address the role of women in society. As stated in the exhibition materials, “with each medium, [DeMonte] has combined sobering commentary on the status of women in the world with lighthearted humor”.
The work is divided into two gallery spaces. The first gallery includes DeMonte’s wood objects covered in pewter and brass appliqués of shapes like purses, tennis rackets, pennants, and shoes. These works, such as Female Fetish: Coffeemaker (2006), below, are recognizable, domestic objects adorned with emblems of DeMonte’s “personal iconography”.
A second gallery includes works from DeMonte’s Female Implements series, some of which are pictured below. These sculptures are inspired by Cycladic art and are meant to “reflect in their imagery the perception of women as the caretakers of society”, according to the artist’s website.
Female Implements installation in the Katzen exhibition
The same gallery displays a fabric work entitled Women’s World (1996), for which DeMonte partnered with female tent factory workers in Tibet. The work seems to question the meaning of Western images of leisure and frivolity in the context of a developing country.
Women’s World, 1996
The work of DeMonte’s husband, Ed McGowin, can be viewed in an adjacent gallery in the exhibition “Name Change”. McGowin changed his name twelve times in the last thirty-five years and created artwork in a style unique to each of those names.