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Medusa's Mirror: Fears, Spells, and Other Transfixed Positions

2011 Selection, Annual Call for Exhibition Proposals

Curated by Amanda Cachia

September 13 - October 20, 2011

Artists' Reception: Thursday, September 15, 6 - 8 PM

Blind Field Shuttle - Walking Tour of Downtown Oakland by Carmen Papalia: Wednesday, September 21, 2 - 4 PM

Artists' Talk: Friday, October 7, 6 PM

Concept + Craft

Featured Artists

Joseph Grigley
Neil Marcus
Carmen Papalia
Katherine Sherwood
Laura Swanson
Sunaura Taylor
Sadie Wilcox
Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi

In Greek mythology, Medusa was viewed as a monster, and gazing directly upon her would turn onlookers into stone. Inspired by this myth, the artists in Medusa’Äôs Mirror address the able-bodied gaze upon the disabled subject - often viewed with fear, curiosity or wonder - by turning the gaze upon the viewer. This shift allows the disabled subject to claim agency and gives cause for the able-bodied viewer to reflect on their own frameworks. The piercing gaze as interpreted through medicine are explored in Katherine Sherwood's mixed media paintings and Sadie Wilcox's examinations of the roles of patient, caregiver and doctor. The medicinal gaze is further skewed into the world of the sideshow in the work of Sunaura Taylor, articulating the point of tension in the gaze.

Several works draw from the ruptures between the able-bodied and the disabled. Deaf artist Joseph Grigely's explores the ruptures and failures of communication, pointing to the rift between spoken and signed language. Blind artist Carmen Papalia's Blind Field Shuttle walking tours leads the closed-eyes participants to experience the world using their other senses - primarily sound and touch. Visual representations of the body and our relationship toward body image are thoughtfully explored in Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi's latex sculptures and in the discomfort reflected in Laura Swanson's photographs. The body is further addressed in Neil Marcus' drawings, an extension of his performance practice, which grapples with mobility and movement as one with dsytonia. The works in Medusa's Mirror bring to light the able-bodied gaze upon the disabled subject and in turn point to the vulnerabilities and fragilities commonplace with all human beings.

Gallery guides in Braille and audio tours will be available in the gallery.

To participate in Carmen Papalia's Blind Field Shuttle walking tour in Downtown Oakland, please RSVP to Limit 25.

Medusa's Mirror is curated by Amanda Cachia. The exhibition is part of Pro Arts' annual open call for exhibition proposals. Pro Arts' visual art programming is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Download pdf Press Release

Review-World Disclosers: Medusa’s Mirror at Pro Arts Gallery, Daily Serving, October 10, 2011

Laura Swanson, Peggy Lee, 2008. Ink-jet print, 20" x 30." Courtesy of the artist.

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