Representing Feminism(s)


Representing Feminism(s)
February 23-April 21, 2018

Reception: Friday, February 23, 5:30-7:30
Gallery Talk: Saturday, February 24, 10 am


Is feminism still a useful framework, a relic of history, or a roadmap for the future? How does feminism provide a way to take a critical stance in the world today, and what are its limitations? How can you ‘perform’ a feminist identity or point of view? Are you a feminist? Why, or why not?

Over 30 contemporary artists, working in media including silkscreen, watercolor, fiber arts, and video, explore feminism’s impact and potential, and create an opportunity to represent more diverse and inclusive feminisms.

Lamont Gallery, Ella Cooper, Body Land Identity Project

The execution of the work in Representing Feminism(s) varies by artist as each takes a different path while exploring what feminism means. Canadian artist Ella Cooper uses video and photography as a medium for Afro/Caribbean women in Canada to share how they wish to be seen in the world. Her work – Body Land Identity – is a photographic series, video installation and empowerment project. “Body Land Identity focuses on creating positive representations of Black women set against quintessentially Canadian landscapes, where ‘land’ serves as a metaphorical representation of national identity, dominant society, earth/environment, First Nations territories and the place of Black women within it.”


In addition to creating videos and photographs, Cooper invited women to participate in The Body Land Identity workshop. In this workshop, they learn about the project, the histories of representation of the Black female body in Western art and are taught photography techniques which they used during an outdoor excursion and photo shoot. Each woman was asked “How do you want to be seen and celebrated in the world?” The works by and with these participants are part of Cooper’s Body Land Identity series where you can see how they answered this question.

Lamont Gallery, Catherine Graffam, ParticipationPainter Catherine Graffam (Manchester, MA) uses self-portraiture as a means of understanding herself and the people in her life. She states “I use myself as a vehicle for storytelling as well as regaining agency over my body as a queer trans woman.” In these portraits, she is alone against a softly colored background and is often looking directly at the viewer. With her work, Graffam is referencing the long history of portraiture and oil painting and how it was often used to objectify women. Graffam is engaging in that history but using this medium as a way to process emotions, reflect on her experiences, and “humanize and individualize [her] existence.”

Lamont Gallery, Ashley Normal, PolishAshley Normal (York, ME) combines personal and found materials with drawing to “create works addressing domesticity and womanhood where nothing is as it seems.” Through her work, Normal is also exploring various issues around gender and social taboos. In Polish, we see perfectly painted finger tips connected to what we can only assume are other female body parts… legs perhaps? They are connected by thin black and white lines that create shapes that are not human. Normal states: “I want the viewer to examine my work and their own surroundings with a sense of curiosity. What is the evidence we leave behind? What is normal?”

According to Deb Schmill (Amesbury, MA), Barbie is more than a toy - to a child, she is real with her own personality. Schmill’s daughters had a lot of Barbies and their love for them inspired Schmill to see them differently and to look at them in new ways. She would see these dolls - or women as she refers them in her artist statement - each day in her home and realized that they were part of her family’s daily lives for a number of years. She began thinking about them in new ways, photographing them to help her answer the questions “Who are they? What were they telling me about themselves?” This is an ongoing series of photographs for Schmill and she continues to explore the play between object versus woman and woman versus object.

Lamont Gallery, Deb Schmill, Rising



Representing Feminism(s) was developed by a team of Phillips Exeter Academy student curators to consider how feminism can be represented and, when necessary, reconceived: Gillian Allou ’19, Nicole Blanco ’20, Mai Hoang ’20, Jacob Hunter ’19, Maya Kim ’18, Andrea Liu ’19, Natalie Love ’19, Rose Martin ’19, Olivia Ross ’19, Gabriella Sanders ’18, Alexandra van Dijkum ’19, Luna Vassao ’18, and Wendi Yan ’18.


Watch the video of the Representing Feminism(s) opening reception and interviews with artists. By Exeter TV 98

Visit our Flickr page to see images from this exhibition and events.

Special Event 

Canadian Artist, Teresa Ascencao will create a site-specific “lace” creation on the gallery floor during the opening reception of Representing Feminism(s) on Friday, February 23. Pictured here is her piece Laced Cobblestone (Calçada á Renda in Portuguese), made of a flour and water paste mixture. It was recently created for the International Azores Fringe Festival on the island of Pico, Azores. Ascencao created this monumental lace doily to bring women’s crochet work into public view, as these artisanal works tend to be less visible in their private domestic settings. The flour and water paste is impermanent and the piece washed away over time drawing attention to the fragility of traditional laceworks and the invisibility of women’s domestic labor.


Participating Artists:Lamont Gallery, Rhonda Thomas Urdang, Million Dollar Legs Run Melania Run

Taylor Apostol, MA
Teresa Ascencao, Canada
Rachelle Beaudoin, NH
Jessica Caponigro, MA
Jeanne Ciravolo, CT
Ella Cooper, Canada
Elizabeth D'Amico, NH
Elena Dahl, OH
Lamont Gallery, Gray Lyons, SwailKara Dunne, MA
Nicole Foran, TN
Ann Forbush, MA
Raquel Fornasaro, MA
Melissa General, Canada
Catherine Graffam, MA
Katya Grokhovsky, NY
Shelby Head, CT
Alex Hovet, NY
Michael Hubbard, TX
Barbara Kendrick, IL
Eddie Lanieri, LA
Gray Lyons, IN
Ashley Normal, ME
Lorna Ritz, MA
Adele Sanborn, NH
Deb Schmill, MA
Rhonda Thomas Urdang, AZ
Ngoc-Tran Vu, MA
Hanna Washburn, NY
Sarah Bates Washburn, MA
Tory Wright Lee, SC
Wen Yu, MA
Alexandra Zevin, NY



Image Credits:
On postcard: Shelby Head, It’s a Girl!, 2017, Frame, wallpaper, table vise, pipe insulation, aluminum flashing, pacifier, tutu, vacuum cleaner hose cover. From top down: Ella Cooper, From the Body, Land, Identity projects, 2015, Digital photograph. Catherine Graffam, Participation, 2017, Oil on Wood. Ashley Normal, Polish, 2017, Found Image and Archival Pen. Deb Schmill, Rising, 2017, Photography. Teresa Ascencao, Laced Cobblestone, 2015, Flour and water paste performative drawing on cobblestone. Rhonda Thomas Urdang, Million Dollar Legs, Run Melania Run, 2017, Femmage with hand-cut found paper, NY Times, paper dolls c. 1970s. Gray Lyons, Swail, 2016, Cyanotype.


Lamont Gallery programs are supported in part by the Michael C. Rockefeller ’56 Visiting Artists Fund.