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Review: Christina Ramberg’s ‘The Making of Husbands’ exhibition

Written by Arts, Exhibitions

Poignantly relatable for women across the globe, the BALTIC’S latest exhibition (named after John Cassavetes’ 1970 film ‘Husbands’) explores Christina Ramberg’s catalogue of 1970s and ‘80s feminist paintings, along with later artists working with similar themes.

Ramberg (1946-95), was part of the Chicago Imagists that came onto the art scene in the 1960s, although most of her works in the exhibition are from the ‘70s and early ‘80s. Her work mainly explores gender and power dynamics, gender constructions, and desire, perhaps depicted most obviously in her piece ‘Tight Hipped’, with a bulging crotch peeping out from underneath a corset.

<p>Christina Ramberg, <em>Tight Hipped</em>, 1974, Copyright the Estate of Christina Ramberg, Courtesy Collection of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, The Bill McClain Collection of Chicago Imagism.</p>
Christina Ramberg, ‘Tight Hipped’, (1974)
Credit: the Estate of Christina Ramberg, Courtesy Collection of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, The Bill McClain Collection of Chicago Imagism

The paintings shown are darkly sensual acrylics on fibreboard or Masonite, highly finished and with crisp geometric lines and curves depicting torsos in corsets.

Perhaps the most striking piece of the exhibition is Howardina Pindell’s 1980 film ‘Free, White and 21’, in which Pindell recounts her experiences of being subjected to lifelong racism, which included abuse by teachers and being singled out by white people, all while wrapping herself in bandages and peeling Elmer’s Glue off her face. This is punctuated intermittently by the artist dressed as a white woman reeling off racist platitudes, presumably echoing that which Pindell has heard throughout her life.

Christina Ramberg’s ‘The Making of Husbands’ exhibition runs until the 21st February 2021 at the BALTIC.

Featured Image: The BALTIC

Last modified: 15th October 2020

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