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Women in Sculpture Outdoor Exhibition
October 15, 2021 @ 8:00 am - October 15, 2023 @ 7:00 pmFree
Women in Sculpture
The Catherine Konner Sculpture Park @ RoCA
Opening October 15, 2021 – October 2023
Free to the Public, Open Dawn to Dusk
Rockland Center for the Arts (RoCA) is proud to present the Women in Sculpture exhibit as a part of a tribute to the 20th Century artist and feminist, Dorothy Gillespie. The exhibit will open October 15th in The Catherine Konner Sculpture Park at RoCA. Artists include works by Dorothy M. Gillespie, Leigh Taylor Mickelson, Aurora Robson, Simone Kestelman and Cathrin Hoskinson.
Dorothy Gillespie (1920-2012) pioneered joyful, new directions of metal sculpture and is best known for large-scale, colorfully painted arrangements of cut aluminum strips curling, radiating, or undulating in giant arrangements of ribbons, enchanted towers, or bursting fireworks. She was well known as a painter, sculptor and installation artist whose work incorporated many significant 20th-century trends in art.
An influential force in the women’s movement, Gillespie encouraged more women’s art in museums and art in public spaces through demonstrations of large museums, such as the Whitney, as Founder of Women Artists Historical Archives of the Women’s Interart Center in NY, as co-founder of the NY Professional Women Artists group, taping interviews of the most important women artists of the 20th century, and teaching at colleges and universities.
She was more fortunate than women sculptors in the 19th Century who were mostly hired as studio assistants by established male sculptors with few exhibitions. They did not pursue monumental work as frequently as men did. Today many more women are now entering traditional male dominated sculpture roles in metal, wood and stone, thanks to the pioneering activism of women like Dorothy Gillespie in the 20th century.
Dorothy Gillespie’s career spanned seven decades, always at the forefront of the American Art movement. Her works grace many institutions, museums, colleges, universities and public spaces, including the permanent collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the United States Mission to the United Nations.
More women than ever are entering mediums of sculpture that were traditionally occupied by men. They are also securing monumental public sculpture commissions. The accomplished female sculptors of the 21st Century being featured along with Gillespie each have made a contribution to the art world through their mediums. They include:
Leigh Taylor Mickelson’s ceramic botanical Garden Dwellers sculptures uniquely mimic the range of organisms from their microscopic to the multicellular; however, they also reflect what is recognizably “human”: the different components of self, sexuality and family, and how these components relate and conflict with one another. By using natural forms – especially ones found in plant life – she uses her work to “magnify” the elements of this dichotomy: natural forms playing out the spiritual, emotional and physical dramas that exist within our human selves. Her most recent work gives homage to one of her most recent inspirations: a plant’s will to pollinate. For Mickelson, the private “business” of flowering plants mimics human courtship and companionship, seduction and sexuality, to a fascinating degree. It also brings to mind the Garden of Eden story, with its legendary beauty but nascent eroticism. Plant life, once magnified, divulges a beauty and familiarity that is regrettably unseen by the naked eye. Mickelson’s work aims to capture the essence and beauty of these organic forms, revealing our shared will to seduce and reproduce.
Mickelson served as the Executive Director of Clay Art Center in Port Chester, NY as well as Exhibitions Director for Baltimore Clayworks and is currently on the board of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts as their Exhibitions Director.
Aurora Robson created a 12 ft x 8 ft x 7 ft high sculpture of welded plastics. (We think of plastic as “disposable” when it is precisely the opposite.) Robson raises awareness of our enormous plastic waste problem and the detrimental effects on our planet. This moment in time is considered to be the “Plastic Apocalypse” according to the 6/18 issue of National Geographic magazine. We propose that it is time to focus on our plastic footprints and how to reduce them as a species. These sculptural works were made from cleaned, cut, and welded plastic barrels taken from the waste stream.
Aurora Robson is best known for her large, lively and intricate installations of plastic. She has developed a teaching course to encourage a shift of paradigms in art and science education while helping restrict the flow of plastic debris to our oceans. She uses her art to inspire others to rethink and reinvent plastic waste in ways that promote creative strategies to upcycle discarded plastics into new objects. Robson is an eco-activist and founder of Project Vortex, an international organization of artists, architects and designers working together to reduce the amount of plastic debris littering our oceans and shorelines. A few of the major collections her work can be found include: The Figge Art Museum, IA; Kingsbrae Gardens, NB, Canada; The South Carolina Aquarium, SC; and the Poipu Beach Hotel, HI.
Simone Kestelman’s glass Warriors sculptures represent different types of inner strength, together they show that individuals are strongest when they accept their vulnerability and stand strong in spite of it. Glass sculptures may appear fragile but are resistant to heat, cold, pressure and chemicals. They can endure heavy rains, snowstorms and heat waves. In stressful times, if we stand still, we realize how strong we are to overcome adversity. The stripes in her pieces represent the DNA that makes us each unique. These sculptures express the diversity of both individuality and personality.
Kestelman’s work reflects on important social issues and comments on them through her work, focusing on injustice, inequality and abuse by stepping beyond traditional imagery and sculpture. Her intention is to drive more people to think and act to promote the protection of women and children in vulnerable situations. She was the Director of SK Gallery in White Plains, NY and has exhibited at the Museum of Art, Morago, CA, the Tucson Contemporary Womens Art Collective, the United Nations, MOCA in Calgary, Canada and A Hebraica Gallery, Novotel Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Cathrin Hoskinson’s large metal Connection sculptures are drawings of natural forms, poetic images which bring to mind memories, yearnings, and beauty – an essence of what makes us human. By following different types of patterns, she presents a connection between the inner structures of the body and the outer lines in nature. Her works remind the viewer of our place in the world as part of the fabric of being. The bright yellow color and enclosing form of her Sunbeam sculpture descrives a net of captured light, and gives an uplifting feeling of flight, or exhilaration. It carries a message of hope and grace, resembling hands bathes in light, or a butterfly in an instant of suspended motion.
Hoskinson’s sculptures have been installed across the country, including: New York, Illinois, Florida, California, Virginia, Maryland and North & South Carolina. Born in Montreal, she has been living in New York since 1974, obtaining her MFA from Hunter College. Hoskinson worked at Argos Foundry in Bewster, NY.
Other semi-permanent works on view by women sculptors include Grace Knowlton, Monica Banks, Caroline Bergonzi and Martha Friedman.
The Catherine Konner Sculpture Park is open from dawn to dusk, free to the public. Brochures can be picked up at the registration desk. For more information visit: www.rocklandartcenter.org or call 845-358-0877.
This exhibition was made possible thanks to the generous support of The Dorothy M. Gillespie Foundation and Gary Israel.
RoCA’s programs are made possible, in part, with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Funding is also made possible by the County of Rockland.
RoCA gratefully acknowledges support for its programs from The Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation, M&T Bank, The M&T Charitable Foundation, The Dorothy Gillespie Foundation, Peter & Rebecca Lang, Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C., Luxury Kitchen and Bath, Golden Artist Colors, Inc., QuietEvents, the Estate of Joan Konner, Lighting Services Inc., Sarah and Stephen Thomas, the Mark and Jessie Milano Foundation, Zaklin Family Charitable Fund, The County of Rockland, Simona and Jerome Chazen, Art Services Group, RoCA members, donors and business members.