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Harmony Murphy Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USA
June 25, 2016 – August 20, 2016
Harmony Murphy Gallery presents In the beginning, in the garment-fold, a solo exhibition of new work by Jane Hugentober. This marks the artist’s first exhibition at the gallery.
Hugentober’s work is deeply rooted in craft traditions, often incorporating techniques such as sewing, quilting, and macramé into the more mainstream mediums of drawing, painting, and sculpture. Weaving these established matrilineal processes into the more accepted forms of fine art, she re-examines their pecking order as well as that of gender-biased educational inheritance. In doing so, she creates a distinctive concoction of integrated ideals, feminine motifs, and personal histories to create an unapologetic rebuttal to the bipartisan division of artisan and art theorist. In her work, meat hooks mingle with intricately looped, delicate string arrangements and large-scale ‘paintings’ are interwoven with silky strings and fragments of rough, meandering wool. Her elegantly laborious practice results in such gorgeous works as Her Everything 2 (2016), a form of resistance to society’s call to just be one thing or another.
The exhibition title borrows from the text Helen in Egypt by Hilda “H.D” Doolittle, a central figure in the Imagist poetry group, who wrote:
…was there a dash of paint
in the beginning, in the garment-fold,
did the blue afterwards wear away?
did they re-touch her arms, her shoulders?
did anyone touch her ever?
Both speak to the seemingly contradictory qualities of purity and reproduction associated with the ideal women – a notion that both artists reject. Hugentober makes her case by mining her own personal histories. In the video I do remember (2014), her grandmother recalls the artist’s mother, who died at a young age, and her attempts to retain an active ‘artistic’ inquiry after the birth of her children. Hugentober, herself a young artist, mother to one child and currently pregnant with a second, exercises her similarly conflicting urges to make and to mother through endeavors such as the Monthlies (2016), a series of bulbous, elaborately stitched recordings that mark the passage of time she allocates to each act. She argues that this tension is the real lineage we inherit from our mothers.
Courtesy of Harmony Murphy Gallery, Los Angeles