Exhibition | Margaret Hart: Situated Becomings | Contemporary Art at Kingston gallery | boston | Art Week

Margaret Hart: Situated Becomings

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Wednesday, 2 October 2019 to Sunday, 27 October 2019
Friday, 4 October 2019 -
5:00pm to 8:00pm

Imagine a cyborg collage: a becoming of gender possibilities, an image depicting fragments of technology, organic parts and hints of human gender forms through the spaces imaged or the objects included. What is collage and what could it be, beyond a simple form of cut-and-paste image making, when focused on the issue of gender in this posthuman era? 

This exhibition features my current body of work, the Situated Becomings series (2017-present) and the Poly-morphosis animated video (2019). These works began from asking myself a question: How can collage, intersecting with fiction and feminism, contribute to a posthuman understanding of gender? In her text, A Cyborg Manifesto (1985), feminist scholar Donna Haraway suggests the cyborg, a collage of biology and technology, as a means to urge feminists to move beyond the limitations of traditional gender and embrace a politics of affinity. This project began with considering the cyborg, a becoming of gender possibilities, an image depicting fragments of technology, organic parts and hints of human gender forms through the spaces imaged or the objects included. I suggest that the political nature of collage is embedded in its earliest iterations within the Western art historical canon and that this inherent nature can be harnessed to deepen contemporary discussions of gender and technology, leading to a creative practice of collage as "becoming," understood most simply as a constant state of change. By examining the political nature of the medium itself and how specific artists create visual work with gender issues at its core, such as Hannah Höch, Miriam Schapiro and Wangechi Mutu, this work engages with imaginative possibilities for posthuman gender. 

The visual collage work included in the Situated Becomings series is based on a character, Mear, developed in my private experimental science fiction writing. With the text guiding the collages, the work addresses the intersection of gender, transformation, and technology by foregrounding Mear's ability to shift and combine genders through technology. Mear exists in the written works, but she is never fully constituted in the visual works. The choice was made to never fully image Mear to insure the character's appearance remains mutable. The visual works begin as sketches of how I envision the environment in which Mear exists, places loosely related to creating or making. However, as layers are added to an image and the works are more densely constructed, brief fragmented glimpses of Mear emerge. These works range in size from 8 x 10 inches to 30 x 30 inches and are built from my own photographic work, appropriated imagery and occasionally handwritten text from my science fiction writing. 

The Poly-morphosis animated video has grown out of the two-dimensional work. The animation weaves together many similar fragments used in the two-dimensional collages and foregrounds gender and posthumanism through its animation sequences. In its current state, the total duration of the video is 9 minutes and 27 seconds, however it is designed to be viewed on a continual loop. The animation sequences in the video are built out of paper cut-outs of human and non-human elements, many of which are also used in the 2D collage works. 

A small catalog will be produced for this exhibition, which is funded by private collectors, with an essay by Professor of art history, Carol Scollans. The work itself was funded in part by a Joseph P. Healy grant and a Dean's Research Grant from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Most recently, part of this the series was exhibited at the Zygote Press in Cleveland, Ohio, in a four-person show that I curated. Our proposal was selected out of over 570 submissions. The exhibition was favorably reviewed by the Cleveland Art Journal. Copies of the catalogs and review available for review.


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450 Harrison ave, no.43

Boston, MA 02113, USA

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