Julie Allen, Jeanne Costello, Jennifer Dalton, Sally Leung, Gina Magid, Jess Von Der Ahe, Charlotta Westergren
2 July – 2 August, 1998


Opening reception Thursday July 2, 6-8pm

The Spencer Brownstone Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of a group exhibition entitled Sissybar. Sissybar presents a sampling of a growing number of artists that employ techniques or an aesthetic sensibility that may best be described as hyperfeminine. These artists make unapologetic use of materials, imagery or language that is associated with society’s quintessence of femininity. Borrowing attitudes from the rrriot grrrl movement, “women’s work” is removed from it’s relegation to the home, and integrated into a poignant and valuable means of expression outside of it. The seemingly delicate reveals a determined strength and resolution. Repetitive, automatic gestures syncopate to a poetic core. Pretty is turned inside out.
By recreating delicate lingerie and handbags out of the everyday materials of the “modern housewife,” Julie Allen excavates a language of exquisitely rendered taboo. Saran wrap, wax paper and tape all record the history of it’s handling. Invested with both the celebration and the confinement of beauty, the sculptures are a tactile reminder of the ritual gesture. Jeanne Costello creates oversized replicas of distinct species of butterflies that hover, inexplicably menacing. Traditionally a symbol of transformation, the butterflies are cast from resin and body fluids coagulating the deeply personal into crystallized forms. Jennifer Dalton takes the cool ambiguity of computer prompts and graphics and turns it into a cozy hearth. Her paintings reveal the accidental and poetic hidden beneath the digitized binary system. Upon imprecise colorfields, Dalton appropriates the vocabulary housed in technology and makes it a home. With a sensibility that is deviously playful, Sally Leung insinuates body parts onto traditional “craft” mediums. Gina Magid asserts layered, sexy narratives onto satin canvases. Affinity/detachment, ambivalence/passion inform dream-like yet determined passages through a shimmering palette. Through her unusual choice of medium and imagery containing hybrids of flora and octopi, Jess Von Der Ahe subverts the control inherent in Japanese Sumai painting and literally makes it her own. Fertility, creativity, and aggression cross pollinate in her strikingly beautiful new works on paper. Charlotta Westegren underscores the looming sexuality of adolescence through the retelling of fairy tales from her native Sweden. The high tech color saturation of video stills combined with intimate, stitched and painted oval canvases immerse the viewer into an enchanted but disturbing world that exists between memory and fabrication.

Artist Bio

Works by:
Julie Allen, Jeanne Costello, Jennifer Dalton, Sally Leung, Gina Magid, Jess Von Der Ahe, Charlotta Westergren

Curated by:
Elizabeth Balogh