There are certain craft activities that have traditionally been classified as feminine: sewing, weaving, and knitting to name a few.
For this reason, according to Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft curator Joey Yates, female artists who’ve dealt in those forms of expression were often dismissed from contemporary artistic discourse.
But then things began to change.
“Going back to the 70s, a lot of female artists have taken up those practices as a way to reclaim them,” Yates says.
This is a thread that is woven throughout KMAC’s latest exhibition “Sisters of the Moon: Art and the Feminine Dimension.” This is the second exhibition in the museum following a full renovation.
The exhibit — borrowed from the title of a Fleetwood Mac song — features artists who investigate ideas related to mysticism and mythology, illuminating the creative spaces where female identity, artistic practice and spirituality converge.
Rooted in the ancient belief that women more fully embody the generative forces of nature — possessing a greater connection to the surrounding environment — this exhibition explores the poetics of nature and the feminine divine.
Though, according to Yates, similar to the way in which “feminine” craft techniques are often dismissed, the concept of divine feminine energy is overlooked.
“There is kind of a feminine divine that most of us don’t necessarily operate in or perhaps haven’t given much thought to because we all accept certain kinds of spiritual practices,” Yates says.
There are 16 artists represented in “Sisters of the Moon,” who work in diverse media including painting, drawing, collage, video, photography, ceramics and installation.
Yates says within the group, there are artists who look more directly at “the ancient idea of the feminine divine,” like Elizabeth Insogna who deals with reinterpreting classic mythology. Then there are artists like Saya Woolfalk and Chitra Ganesh, who look at a futuristic aspect of women’s power and magic.
“Whenever you curate a group show, you’re putting artists in conversation with one another who haven’t been in conversation before,” Yates says. “So that’s kind of a good bookend — most things fit between that spectrum.”
“Sisters of the Moon” will be on display until January 2017. The exhibition will feature an event series corresponding with the full and new moons. More information is available here.