Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism

Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism
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On View Oct 19, 2018 - Mar 10, 2019
Exhibition Location: Museum

Linde Gallery
2nd Floor Galleries
Foster Galleries

For over twenty years, Sheila Pepe has made large-scale sculptures and installations using domestic and industrial fibers. This exhibition, the first mid-career survey of Pepe’s work, examines how the artist plays with feminist and craft traditions to counter patriarchal notions of art making. While Pepe incorporates personal and cultural narratives into her work, she also invites a broad range of viewers’ interpretations. Many of her fiber-based works respond to architectural spaces, adding a layer of awareness about the context of museum display to the meaning of her work.

Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism is organized by Phoenix Art Museum and curated by Gilbert Vicario, the Museum's Selig Family Chief Curator.  It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog, with contributions by Julia Bryan-Wilson, Elizabeth Dunbar, Lia Gangitano and Gilbert Vicario.

Support for this exhibition was generously provided by an anonymous donor. DeCordova also wishes to thank the Board of Trustees and Council of Overseers, who generously provide crucial unrestricted support, without which our exhibitions would not be possible.

Press Release

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Sheila Pepe (b. 1959, Morristown, NJ) has longstanding connections to New England. She earned a BFA in Ceramics from Massachusetts College of Art + Design, Boston, and an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. She was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, from 1997-1998. Pepe has also held teaching positions at many area institutions, including Rhode Island School of Design, Brandeis University, and Williams College. In 2015, Pepe was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from Massachusetts College of Art + Design. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Conversation with Sheila Pepe and Nancy Bauer

Thursday, November 29, 6:30–7:30 pm
Join us for a conversation between artist Sheila Pepe and Dr. Nancy Bauer, Dean of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, to learn how philosophy, gender, and feminism inform Pepe’s work.

Studio Workshop with Exhibiting Artist Sheila Pepe

Friday, November 30, 1:30–4 pm
Join exhibiting artist Sheila Pepe as we experiment with new and familiar materials to create personal votive sculptures inspired by her work in Hot Mess Formalism.

Conversation and Crafts with Virginia Johnson

Thursday, January 10, 5:30–7:30 pm
Join Virginia Johnson, owner of Cambridge-based stitch lounge gather here, in a craft making event and conversation about building communities for and through craft. Bring your own handicraft to work while you listen or arrive early to contribute to a collaborative textile work.

Interactions of Space: Sculpture Workshop with Michelle Lougee

Saturday, January 12, 10:30 am–1 pm
Make a freestanding or hanging sculpture that focuses on the interaction of spaces working with wire, bamboo, fiber, and other components.

Weaving Memory Workshop with Jodi Colella

Saturday, January 26, 10:30 am–1 pm
Explore identity, memory, and sense of place through the creation of abstract tapestries. Combine personal items with fibers and organic materials to tell your story.

Conversation and Crafts with Matting Change

Wednesday, January 30, 5:30–7:30 pm
Join Audrey Lin, creator of Matting Change, for a fun evening to transform plastic grocery bags into crocheted sleeping mats for young adults experiencing homelessness. Make some plarn (plastic yarn) and hear about how Lin combined her love of fiber arts and the environment to help members of the Boston community.

Fiber Workshop with Woomin Kim

Wednesday, February 6, 6:30–9 pm
Combine various fibers and fabrics with personal and found objects to create beauty from the everyday. Work small to create a personal accessory, or large to make a unique wall hanging.

Conversation and Crafts with Adrienne Sloane: Knitting is Newsworthy

Thursday, February 7, 5:30–7:30 pm
From Madame Defarge in A Tale of Two Cities onward, knitters have been incorporating the political into their stitches. Come hear how knitting is being used by contemporary artists to address issues such as war, climate change, and species preservation.

Artist Talk: Sheila Pepe

Thursday, February 28, 6:30–7:30 pm
Join us for a free talk by exhibiting artist Sheila Pepe. From ancient Rome to feminism to her personal biography, Pepe weaves together many far reaching subjects through her expansive fiber art installations and multimedia works.

Conversation and Crafts with Cat Mazza

Thursday, March 7, 5:30–7:30 pm
Join exhibiting artist and craftivist Cat Mazza for a talk about the deep roots of craft in New England labor history to its continuing role in contemporary activist causes.