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Ties that Bind: Selections from the Collection

  • Maud Gatewood
    United States, 1934-2004
    Genre II, 1966
    Acrylic on plywood
    48 x 40 in.
    Weatherspoon Art Museum. Gift of Dot Hodges and Joseph D. Rowand in memory of Jenny Fitch, 1995

    A graduate of Woman’s College (now UNCG) in 1954, Maud Gatewood did not make it clear what, if anything, is happening in Genre II. However, the figures’ expressions and dynamics create an ambience that serves as a metaphor for suburban America in the 1960s.

    © Estate of Maud Gatewood

  • elin o'Hara slavick
    United States, born 1965
    Terry Le Blanc and Sherry Puckett, Servers, The Iberian Restaurant, New Iberia, Louisiana, 1999, from the series Workers Dreaming
    Dye coupler print
    29 ¾ x 29 ⅛ in.
    Weatherspoon Art Museum. Museum purchase with funds from the Joseph R. Morton Acquisition Endowment, 2006

    In her series Workers Dreaming, University of North Carolina professor elin o’Hara slavick conflates the space between labor and leisure, agency and servitude. She asked her subjects to close their eyes and imagine something joyful before she took their picture. She states, “Although our eyes are open, we are often blind to beauty, to injustice, to cultural difference and to class structure. While the workers' eyes are closed in my photographs, they see and know their situation intimately. Denying us their gaze but offering us a meditative space, they are empowered, lost in their own imaginings, desires, hopes and self-consciousness.” Similar in dress and physical attributes, these servers appear to be related familially as well as socioeconomically.

    © elin o'Hara slavick

  • Nikki S. Lee
    United States, born South Korea, 1970
    Part (37), 2002
    Dye coupler print mounted on aluminum
    29 ⅞ x 22 ⅞ in.
    Weatherspoon Art Museum. Gift of Leslie Tonkonow, 2009 

    In her photographic series Parts, Nikki Lee explores how intimate relationships affect personal identity. Lee appears in each carefully constructed scene, but subsequently crops her male companions partly out of the picture. As a result, the viewer is left to guess the identity of the missing person and his role in the narrative story. Lee portrays herself slightly different in each photograph in the series, accentuating the artist's interest in the fluidity of identity and the role of personal relationships in one's sense of self.

    © Nikki S. Lee

  • Janine Antoni
    United States, born Bahamas, 1964
    Umbilical, 2000
    Sterling silver cast of family silverware and negative impression of artist's mouth and mother's hand
    3 x 8 x 3 in.
    Weatherspoon Art Museum. Museum purchase with funds from the Lynn Richardson Prickett Endowment, the Carol and Seymour Levin Acquisition Endowment and the Judy Proctor Acquisition Endowment, 2012

    Janine Antoni’s work typically focuses on rituals of the body. This sculpture examines the relationship between a mother’s body and that of her child. It consists of a cast of the inside of Antoni’s adult mouth at the round end of the spoon; at the handle end is a cast of the space inside her mother’s hand as she held the utensil. Both the act of feeding and the cast spoon symbolize domesticity, ritualization, and the fetishization of a tool used for a basic need. Ultimately, Umbilical traces in title and form the relationship between and the path from body to home. Antoni states, “I began to think that at first I fed from my mother’s body, then from her hand, and now she would like to pass down the utensils to feed others.”

    © Janine Antoni, courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York

  • Angela Strassheim
    United States, born 1969
    Untitled (Makayla), 2006
    Dye coupler print
    40 x 30 in.
    Weatherspoon Art Museum. Gift of The Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, 2013

    Angela Strassheim’s photographs address issues of female identity, family, religion, and the domestic environment; they often reference her own memories, particularly childhood memories that still confuse or disturb her. Strassheim’s staged images vacillate between the apparent and the discovered. Here she explores what it means to be a daughter and examines the complex dramas that reveal themselves in relationships with family members. Although poised, both the young girl and dog look at the photographer (and us) with such apprehension and skepticism that we wonder their cause.

    © Angela Strassheim

  • David M. Spear
    United States, born 1937
    Muñeca (Doll), Cuetzalan, 1998
    Gelatin silver print
    20 ⅛ x 24 in.
    Weatherspoon Art Museum. Museum purchase with funds from the Joseph R. Morton Acquisition Endowment, 2000

    This image belongs to a series of photographs begun in the 1990s that document the artist's time traveling and living in Mexico. The importance of the doll to this little girl is reflected in Spear’s choice of focus, lighting, and title for the picture.

    © David M. Spear

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