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Material Transformations

Angela Ellsworth, Seer Bonnet: Clarissa (age 15), 2012-2013, 17,443 pearl corsage pins, fabric, steel. Courtesy of the artist and Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale.

Angela Ellsworth, Seer Bonnet: Clarissa (age 15), 2012-2013, 17,443 pearl corsage pins, fabric, steel. Courtesy of the artist and Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale.

Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville

By Suzanne Cohen

“Material Transformations” assembles a group of artists who utilize unconventional materials, such as aluminum cans, cleaning sponges, construction material discards, corsage pins, masking tape, office supplies and wrapping paper, to create their works, forging complex symbolic associations between the materials used and messages they wish to transmit.

This is not a new strategy in contemporary art, as it has been used before by masters such as Marcel Duchamp and Bob Rauschenberg. Nevertheless, in the pieces included in this exhibition, this approach is once again taken up by Kirsten Hassenfeld, Paul Villinski, Angela Ellsworth, Lucrecia Troncoso, Alison Foshee, Rune Olsen and Johnston Foster in order to convey their preoccupation with the rampant consumption that characterizes contemporary life, the stereotypes established by society and religion that condemn women to play predetermined roles, and the laws that govern traditional power structures. These themes and others are debated in a tension between desire and possibility.

Of particular interest is the oeuvre of Ellsworth, who explores her family history, whose Mormon religious doctrines she has rejected. In this series that she calls “Seer Bonnets: A Continuing Offense,” the artist addresses the reality of women who are victims of cruelty, submission and control under the guise of religious dogma. Through April 6, 2014.

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