A Place of Her Own features more than 30 artworks and large-scale installations that excavate the vibrant dreams and hopes of women. On view with accompanying public programming November 19 to December 11, 2015, the group visual arts exhibition amplifies the voices of 20 women artists with diverse cultural perspectives ranging in age from 24 to 89 years old. Each piece in the exhibition is a courageous visual answer to the question, “If you had a place of your own, what would it be?”
Exhibited artworks—marked by a saturation of color, imaginative use of materials and visual storytelling—highlight the personal, yet universal, journey to seek out and claim a place without external rules or expectations. Accompanying events and interactive installations invite the audience to join the journey.
A Place of Her Own, opening with a free public reception on Thursday, November 19, 6pm to 9pm, is the first of three SOMArts Commons Curatorial Residency exhibitions in the 2015–2016 season. Residency recipient and curator Cynthia Tom is driven by an abiding passion to spotlight issues facing Asian American women and develop artistic forums that heal and transform. Leading up to this exhibition, Tom facilitated a number of workshops with artists based on intuitive and healing art practices that stoked the ideas realized in the exhibited artworks. The A Place of Her Own exhibition at SOMArts also offers audiences an opportunity to tap into their inner wisdom and personal strengths through hands-on art-making. While visiting the public can participate in three intuitive, self-guided art-making workstations: “Beliefs That Hold You Back,” “Family Patterns,” and “Aspiration Tree.”
From large-scale installations to miniatures, written word, painting, found object assemblage and sculpture, exhibiting artists consider their own cultural and gender identities, process trauma and celebrate their personal power to overcome and to heal. Intended to inspire, excite and ignite, the work innovatively combines mixed media and visual storytelling, insisting upon new ways to re-imagine our individual place in the world.
Reiko Fujii’s “Curating Joy” is a library card catalog of hundreds of joyful thoughts and images as an exercise in emotional delight. For Fujii this installation was a direct result of facing her darkness and disarming its power.
Maggie Yee has never lived alone, even after leaving her father’s home when she was 14. “Studio Euphoria” finally brings her to a place where she can settle in and create with no responsibilities. She filled a miniature studio with her favorite things, making them by hand and using found objects.
“Aligning Elevation” by Manon Bogerd Wada features the transformation of personal family furniture. Inspired by traditional Thai houses, four chairs are elevated sixteen feet side by side with the addition of handmade stilts for their legs and extensions of ladders from their backs. The paralleled growth of these chairs speaks to home, well being, and strength of family.
Tom immerses visitors inside her installation “Maps of Consciousness.” Larger than life paintings float in the space, surrounding visitors with saturated hues of green abundance. Tom has spent this past year overcoming 15 years on antidepressants and sleeping pills. Pushing through a deep depression and debilitating anxiety, she shares her personal journey through this work.
November 19–December 11, 2015
Gallery hours: Tuesday–Friday 12–7pm & Saturday 12–5pm, Closed November 26-28 for Thanksgiving
Thursday, November 19, 6–9pm
See the dreams of women brought to life through soul-inspiring sound sculpture, a forest of giant intuitive paintings, and an enormous landscape of hand-built chairs and ladders. Surrounded by art inspired by hope for the future, visitors are invited to join the journey through participation in three self-guided art-making workstations.
Sunday, December 6, 1–4pm
Each artist will share the intimate story of her journey leading to the creation of A Place of Her Own. Viewers will have the opportunity to ask questions about anything that puzzles them or that has aroused their curiosity, as well as the opportunity to participate in three self-guided art-making workstations.
Closing Reception & Community Potluck
Thursday, December 10, 6:30–8:30pm
A Place of Her Own Closing Reception is intended to be a community celebration, and an opportunity to meet the artists and curators. Visitors who participated in three self-guided art-making workstations while visiting the exhibition or attending other public events are encouraged to bring back the artworks they created for sharing and discussion. To participate in the potluck, RSVP at placepotluck.eventbrite.com.
The exhibition and all related events take place at SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th Streets), San Francisco, CA, 94103, unless otherwise noted. SOMArts is wheelchair/ADA accessible.
Curators & Artists:
Cynthia Tom (Lead Curator)
Manon Bogerd Wada
Curatorial Associates & Artists:
Isabelle Thuy Pelaud
Laura Ming Wong
*Artist statements and bios are available here.
ABOUT THE COMMONS CURATORIAL RESIDENCY
The Commons Curatorial Residency Program nurtures a creative cultural environment in the Bay Area by providing space and support for exhibitions that take risks, promote cultural connectivity and learning, and instigate accessible, multifaceted participation in the arts. Selected artists and groups receive support consisting of a $3,000 grant, a month-long exhibition at SOMArts, 80+ hours of technical assistance, and help with traditional and social media outreach to connect their work with new audiences. Through this support, Bay Area artists can engage the community, expand their practice and turn vision into reality.
Images top to bottom: “Experiment D10,” Irene Wibawa, photo by Cynthia Tom; “Reclaim,” Laura Ming Wong, photo courtesy of the artist; “Curating Joy,” Reiko Fujii, photo by Lenore Chinn; “Studio Euphoria,” Maggie Yee, photo courtesy of the artist; “Aligning Elevation” (sketch proposal), Manon Bogerd Wada, courtesy of the artist; “Map of CONSCIOUSNESS” (detail), Cynthia Tom, photo courtesy of the artist.