February 1 through March 1, 2019
Reception: Friday, February 1 | 6 - 8 p.m.
The Davis Gallery at Houghton House
The Art Collection of Hobart and William Smith Colleges spans centuries, media, and makers. The works in this exhibition all tie to the question of labor. At the broadest sense, all of these works have been made, by someone. We will highlight works that demonstrate this "madeness" through their materiality-the grooves in a woodcut, the physicality of thick paint, the marks on a ceramic vessel, or the precision of an abstract lithograph. We will also highlight works which show the act of making or people at work, discussing labor as it appears in depictions of motherhood, farming, industry, locomotion, union organization, and slavery. Through artists like Kara Walker, Kathe Kollwitz, Arthur Dove, Frank Romero, and Stacey Robinson, we will examine the question of labor: whose labor do we value? How do artists depict those around them at work? By including works whose makers are unknown, we will also address the hierarchy and Eurocentricity of the art historical canon. Galleries, like artworks, are also products of people and of their institutions. So part of this exhibition is also asking: how can we continue to make the Davis Gallery a space for engagement, and a space that recognizes and demonstrates different forms of labor?
Exhibition curated by Anna Wager, Clarence A. Davis '48 Visual Arts Curator, who joined HWS from Seattle in August. She holds a PhD in 19th-century English and American art and material culture from the University of Washington. Her curatorial fellowships include work at the Seattle Art Museum, Delaware Art Museum, and Henry Art Gallery, and she has taught courses on Victorian art and science, Gilded Age art, print culture, and book history.