The Art of Feminism: BODY MATTERS Exhibition text by Valerie McPhail

Marlborough Contemporary hosts BODY MATTERS, a two piece art exhibition on display through February 10th. Exhibiting in the Viewing Room, Rita Ackerman’s Hip-Shot and Carol Rama’s Bricolage share the compact space. As the paintings face each other on opposite walls, the profundity of each piece fills the room.

Rita Ackerman’s Hip-Shot compartmentalizes into four canvas emblazoned with oil, wax and sharpie. Individually each canvas tells a different perspective through unique illustration and imagery. One of the four pieces silhouettes a woman’s profile, illustrating the shoulder and lips, arguably the most feminine parts of a woman’s body, another manifests colors of the sunset. Brushstrokes in pigments of honey, rose and gold dance among the canvas.

Collectively, the four pieces reveal a union of different perspectives, shapes and colors on identical bodies of canvas. The larger image expresses the unity of four canvas pieces coexisting.

The smaller image, Carol Rama’s Bricolage, presents a mix media compilation of ink, spray paint, nail, matchstick and glue on paper. Directly facing across the room, the image is dark, and yet attracts like a flame. As a black mass invades the body of the painting, an aura, the color purple, remains. With dignity and grace, the image becomes an anchor to this piece.

Romance and beauty radiates through the physicality of each painting. A statement in response to current cultural conversation eventuates. In a time when the image of a woman’s body is a topic of conversation, comparison, freedom of expression or object of attraction, together Ackerman and Rama open a dialogue that honors and shares the beauty of the body when the weight of other opinions become too heavy.

Valerie McPhail

Valerie McPhail is a New York-based writer on things of style and artistic expression. She has a portfolio of writing for both fashion and art publications. Although she enjoys covering fashion news and supporting new designers, her favorite subject to explore is the experience of fashion and how life is communicated through clothing. She believes there is a lot to be said about this.