an exhibition of sculpture and wall installations by Claudia DeMonte
that reflect one woman’s travels, inquisitiveness and contemplation
about women’s roles in society, will open at the June Kelly Gallery,
166 Mercer Street, on May 17. The exhibition will remain on
view through June 19.
DeMonte’s sense of self,
women and cultural differences was natural to her growing up in
Astoria, New York as a daughter in an Italian family in one of the
most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the country. “Empathy
about the world stage was instilled in me by my family.
Thinking globally were common words in my home in the 1950s well
before becoming a buzz word.”
DeMonte has traveled to
over 100 countries, shown her work in 35, and “has always found
fertile soil in the questions of women’s identity,” said Tom
Sokolowski, former director of the Andy Warhol Museum.
DeMonte’s passion about gender roles and issues of social inclusion
in their respective societies has through the years enthused her own
art work. Zealously DeMonte sought out women artisans from
more than 177 countries and ultimately curated Real Beauty
(2000-2007), a traveling exhibition of culturally diverse accounts
interpreted through works of art.
DeMonte, a traveler, since
her twenties obsessed with concern and wonder about women has said
travel and dialogue with women globally made her increasingly aware
of the way objects act as surrogates for important issues in our
lives. In 2009, art writer Eleanor Heartney stated in a
monograph about DeMonte, “both globalism and feminism profoundly
shaped DeMonte’s consciousness and in turn allowed her to contribute
to the reshaping of contemporary art in these directions.”
In this exhibition,
sculptures and wall installations focus on DeMonte’s primary theme…
reminders of the pleasure of living. Compellingly and candidly
she employs an array of media and found material that bears witness
to the lives of women, to the stories they tell, and the cultural
legacy they each live as opening passage to a narrative.
Gift Box, 2017, a
brightly painted sculpted wood container with closure secured by
tied ornate ribbon suggests DeMonte’s preservation of cultural
legacies representative of women in diverse global locations.
Her archetypical sculpted forms -- luggage, magic potent bottles,
house, handbags, each laden heavily with trinkets, objects collected
and treasured independently speak of their importance to the group.
Cose Che Ho Fatto,
a wall installation of embroidered panels is as a technological
swipe across DeMonte’s life. Each of 70 panels is a
remembrance recalling a past experience, fact, impression, skill,
courage or sacrifice and carry them forward as a legacy to coming
generations. A second wall installation titled Profiles in
Courage includes luggage tags each imprinted with the name of a
country she has visited as well as the name of a woman she admires
from that country.
Works of art exhibited
here are “full of memento vivre-reminders of life, reflecting the
artist’s journey through the feminist movement and the emergence of
globalism. The metamorphosis of woman and globalism creates a
dialogue with the viewer. The structure of womanhood through
the years is evidenced in this lattice of probing introspection,
demonstrated in disparate, divergent sculptures and images.”
DeMonte lives and works in
New York City and Kent, Connecticut. She received a bachelor's
degree from College of Notre Dame of Maryland in Baltimore and an
MFA from Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.
DeMonte's work has been
shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions nationally and
internationally. The many public and private collections in
which she is represented include the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Bass
Museum, Miami, FL; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS; New
Orleans Museum of Art, LA; Indianapolis Museum of Art; University of
Maryland, College Park; Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA;
Portland Museum of Art, ME; Contemporary Art Museum, Villa Rufolo,
Ravello, Italy; Warsaw Museum of Modern Art, Poland; University of
Oldenburg, Germany, and the Hvidore Art Library, Denmark.