Stories: Women From the Bible in Contemporary Book Arts
These artist's books were part of an exhibition at the Maine Jewish Museum in early 2022 called Stories: Women from the Bible in Contemporary Book Arts, curated by artist Lissa Hunter.
When I began working on this project, researching these women and their stories, what caught my attention, even more than the narratives themselves, were the unspoken rules embedded in the text; and more importantly, how women today are still bound by many of those implicit expectations.
For this exhibition, I created two sets of books: a series of Fans of Acquiescence, each inspired by a particular individual; and The Long Arc of History … Hidden in the Folds of Time - a series of meandering concertinas, that together embody the tenacious ties to the past. The fans are evocative of how the women hid their identities, desires, and actions. The meandering concertinas are also about hiding. But they take it a step further and give the viewer a glimpse into what lies hidden between the folds. They reward a closer look. Like the women in these stories — if you take the time to peel back the layers of expectations, you find in them a wellspring of knowledge, insight, cunning, and understanding.
The cloak behind which women continue to conceal themselves is woven from the threads of stories passed down from one generation to the next. The persistent beliefs about and attitudes towards women today find their origins in these biblical narratives. The women in these stories may hide behind acquiescence to the men in their lives, but beyond the acceptance of their positions, they also hold fast to their power.
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