Thursday, January 17, 2019

Mantle Art Space to Unveil Collaborative Exhibition Inspired by the #MeToo Movement

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2019 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge Works by Sarah Francis Hollis (left) and Taylor Maupin (right) - COURTESY OF MANTLE ART SPACE
  • Courtesy of Mantle Art Space
  • Works by Sarah Francis Hollis (left) and Taylor Maupin (right)
From its origins as a grassroots endeavor founded by activist Turana Burke in 2006 to its evolution as a viral hashtag fueled by actress Alyssa Milano amid the Harvey Weinstein scandal in 2017, the #MeToo movement has gone far beyond its original mission to “help survivors of sexual violence, particularly young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing.” Outlined in the History & Vision section of its official website (metoomvmt.org), the movement now aims to de-stigmatize “survivors from all walks of life” (including queer, trans and disabled individuals) while connecting them with resources and building a culture that “interrupts sexual violence” and holds perpetrators accountable.

As writer Rachel Wells pointed out in her Artrepreneur story “How Artists Have Responded to the Me Too Movement” (July 23, 2018), creative expression “can be a weapon or a balm.” Citing the seemingly disparate work of illustrator Steve Isaacs, photojournalist Eliza Hatch and pop star Kesha, among others, Wells’ story touches on art’s power to raise awareness, spark important conversations and even heal. Among the artists Wells profiled is Los Angeles-based Claire Salvo, whose series ME:WE comprises stippled portraits of nine fellow survivors of sexual assault. “Reading, internalizing and translating each woman’s story challenges me to confront my own trauma,” Salvo explained.

Arriving from a similar frame of reference is Mantle Art Space’s new exhibition “An Incredible Weight/Wait.” Curated by Sara Corley Martinez, it combines the voices of Cincinnati native Sarah Francis Hollis and recent UTSA graduate Taylor Maupin, who addressed childhood trauma and mental illness in her 2018 MFA thesis installation “One Upon a Time.” A truly collaborative undertaking, “An Incredible Weight/Wait” employed a “call-and-response” format that entailed Maupin creating sculptural objects based on a poetic, personal testimony Hollis burned onto 16 wooden cards reminiscent of file folders. Described as “an expression of domestic violence, a personal narrative, a call to action,” the two-woman show aims to “serve as both a personal account and shout of support and reassurance for all those touched by gender-based violence and harassment.”

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