Spilling out of the Simon Room onto Skillman Library’s main floor is In Retrospect, an exhibit of vibrant artists’ books and other works on paper by three accomplished artists—Maureen Cummins, Ann Lovett, and Nava Atlas.
As part of Women’s History Month, the artists will participate in a panel discussion about their work 4:15 p.m. Thursday, March 3, in the Gendebien Room. Mary Armstrong, associate professor of English and chair of women’s and gender studies, and Curlee Holton, Roth Professor of Art, will moderate. The exhibit will be on view through March 11 from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Exhibition catalogs are available for sale.
At first glimpse, it may be hard to find common threads among the vintage comic books, modern photographs, and old documents that appear in these works. However, all three artists use elements from the past as a way to make sense of contemporary culture. By rearranging and combining historical images, text, and ephemera with new material, they create provocative new works that challenge assumptions about race, gender, and memory.
The work of Maureen Cummins is inspired by old letters, documents, and photographs that she collects from flea markets. She creates quilts, photo albums, and ledgers that deal with wrenching subjects (slavery, insanity, torture), subverting the traditional values and gentility usually embodied in these ordinary objects. Ann Lovett draws source material from historical archives and museum collections, as well as from her original photography. Her work explores individual and collective memory, the culture of memorials, and institutional control of sites of war, trauma, and loss. Nava Atlas collects everyday ephemera—pinup photos, advice columns, vintage food images, old comic books—and arranges them in ironic juxtapositions that question traditional assumptions about gender.