AMY ARBUS & MARTHA POSNER
A #METOO PROJECT
AMY ARBUS and MARTHA POSNER present A #METOO PROJECT
June 12 – July 17, 2019 at The Schoolhouse Gallery
Since the early 1990s, much of Martha Posner’s paintings and sculpture has been about the women’s issues of inequality, sublimation, and abuse. She made a piece made out of honeysuckle vines of a woman having been raped called, Leda, after the myth. Then came her Garment series inspired by dark fairytales of victimized little girls. In 1998, she began her Frozen Charlotte series, of naked porcelain dolls bruised and bleeding like prepubescent girls. Many of Martha’s pieces contain elements from the animals and garden on her farm. Her work is fearless, raw, sexual, powerful and straight from the heart. When the #MeToo movement broke, Martha realized that her story was almost every woman’s story. She was possessed with the need to create something that acknowledged the wounds of the past. Martha found vintage slips and bed coats to honor the women who had worn them before. Upon these garments she meticulously hand wrote the words “metoo” countless times all over them.
Amy Arbus’ disarming, kind, gentle nature has earned her a reputation for being the photographer for delicate situations. People tend to trust her because she has a genuine curiosity in human nature and a lack of guile. Amy is known for her style feature, On The Street, which ran in The Village Voice from 1980-1990. She has five books, including No Place Like Home, about people whose interior design echoes their personalities. In The Fourth Wall she explored fictional and true identities by picturing on and off-Broadway actors in costume, in character but out of the context of the play. Amy’s work is deceptively simple but is also straight forward, revealing, passionate, and intensely personal.
For Amy it wasn’t until 2015 that her photographs began focusing on women. She made portraits of timeless beauties that showed their strength, courage, bravery, self-confidence, vulnerability and tenacity. Amy felt there was a political message that was missing from Goddesses and ultimately the project never came to fruition.
It was the day after Thanksgiving 2018 at Martha’s studio, when Amy first saw Martha’s slips and was stunned by the fact that her Goddesses were also wearing antique slips. For Amy, “metoo” was the missing piece. They decided to collaborate. Amy’s seventeen photographs were made on January 20th, 2019. Posner and Arbus were touched by the willingness of the women to get half naked and revisit a dark place. The complex feelings in the room were palpable. Some women felt sad, depressed and inadequate. Others felt completely comfortable in their own skin. Amy’s photographs are intended to show the women coming out of the shadows and into their own.
The two artists will present and installation of Martha’s handwritten garments with Amy’s photographs of the chosen women wearing Martha’s wardrobe. Martha collected the women’s actual stories and will incorporate them into the project without attributing them to specific people.