Gina Dawson and Donna Rosenthal: She's crafty and she's just my type.
March 18, 2010
The judi rotenberg gallery is pleased to present She’s crafty, and she’s just my type, featuring the work of Gina Dawson and Donna Rosenthal. This exhibition of meticulously crafted objects made with unapologetic preciousness and wit, opens on March 18, 2010. Gina Dawson's stitched letters and tiny paper wreaths cut, folded, and tied with sashes embroidered with text and Donna Rosenthal's ruffled paper and crocheted dresses present an affinity for detail and invitation to adore. Both artists use their homegrown knack for craft to create poignant, text-based objects. Borrowing from popular cultural expressions, Rosenthal quotes colloquial descriptions of women to challenge tags of feminine identity, while Dawson adopts kitschy objects of bereavement to make art from rejection. Dawson‘s work is both humorous and sincere. She exposes her failures publicly, and serves it in the form of stitched rejection letters and handcrafted funeral wreaths. Having accumulated these rejection letters over the years from various art institutions, Dawson uses them as fodder for her art. She writes,” My current work addresses both the labor of being an artist and the disappointment that often comes with that choice.” Stitching the letters word by word to scale as well stitching excerpts from the letters onto the wreath sashes, Dawson labors over her disappointment, creating opportunity from the loss. The wreaths, miniscule, but triumphant line the gallery wall like trophies. Rosenthal’s work invites us to see ourselves. Those familiar with her oeuvre will recognize the shift in scale of many of these pieces to directly relate to body. Rosenthal writes, “In each dress and each suit, we are looking for something of ourselves…like looking in the mirror.” Dresses, suits and mirrors continue to be vehicles for Rosenthal’s ideas. These sculptures, crafted from a range of mostly vintage materials, hang or cluster in crowds directed towards the center of the room. The stitched or stickered text on each figure is gendered slang, repeating terms of endearment or cat-calls. “The text, whether tender, ironic or humorous is almost always used as a tool for social commentary, bringing the entrenched habits of daily rituals into the public forum.” Rosenthal also explains that her choice to use craft materials reinforces her interest in the notion that our identities are constructions, whether social or self-created.