Faith Wilding/Fearful Symmetries


Faith Wilding: Fearful Symmetries
September 5 – October 4, 2014
Clough-Hanson Gallery at Rhodes College

Related Events:
Opening reception
Friday, September 5 from 6-8 pm 
Free lecture by the artist
Thursday, September 4 at 6 pm in Fraizer Jelke lecture hall B, on the campus of Rhodes College
Please note that this is not our usual lecture location. The entrance to Frazier Jelke can be found at the bottom of the amphitheater directly to the West of the gallery. Follow posted signs from the gallery to the lecture.
Film Screening: Not for Sale: Feminism and Art in the USA During the 1970’s andAtmospheres: Duration Performances by Faith Wilding
Thursday September 11, 6 – 7:30pm in Blount Auditorium on the campus of Rhodes College

Faith Wilding: Fearful Symmetries launches a series of exhibitions and events planned for Fall 2014 that explore the history and current relevance of feminisms in visual culture and beyond. For more information about this series, contact Joel Parsons, parsonsj@rhodes.edu.


Clough-Hanson Gallery is honored to present Fearful Symmetries, the first retrospective exhibition of the influential feminist artist, Faith Wilding. Widely known as a performance artist, Wilding was a key figure in the formation of the first Feminist Art Program in Fresno in 1970, and at Cal Arts in 1971. She was a major contributor to the now historical collaborative feminist installation Womanhouse, sited in an abandoned mansion in Los Angeles in 1972, where she performed her highly celebrated work Waiting.

Fearful Symmetries brings together a selection of works from Wilding’s studio practice spanning the past forty years, highlighting a range of works on paper – drawings, watercolors, collage and paintings. Taking up key, allegorical imagery in Wilding’s work, the exhibition focuses on themes of “becoming,” both the transformative event itself, and the threshold to transfiguration. This state of in-between-ness is articulated through imagery of leaves, the chrysalis, hybrid beings, and liminal circumstances themselves, like “waiting”, the subject of Wilding’s two prominent performances Waiting and Wait-With.

Wilding’s work manages to be both delicate and harsh in its exploration of the pivotal moment between private revelation and public manifestation. Viewed together, her work makes a powerful impression about psychological and physical transition and transformation. In the depiction of the chrysalis and the embryo, for example, gestation is suggested, while in imagery of tears, wounds and “recombinant” bodies, emergence and materialization are pronounced. The sum of these parts provides a unique account of how themes of emergence were central to Wilding’s articulation of feminism, and her own reflections on a childhood growing up in an intentional Christian commune.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication featuring original writings by Irina Aristarkhova, Mario Ontiveros, and Faith Wilding.

Faith Wilding is Professor Emerita of performance art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a graduate faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and currently a visiting scholar at the Pembroke Center, Brown University. Born in Paraguay, Wilding received her BA from the University of Iowa. and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Wilding was a co-initiator of the Feminist Art Programs in Fresno and at Cal Arts, and key contributor to the Womanhouse exhibition with Crocheted Environment and her Waiting performance. Her artwork have been featured in major feminist exhibitions including WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution; Sexual Politics; Division of Labor: Women’s Work in Contemporary Art; and re.act Feminism. Her writings have been featured in such books as “The Power of Feminist Art”, “By Our Own Hands”  “The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader” (Edited by Amelia Jones) , MEANING, and many more.

Wilding has exhibited nationally and internationally, including the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid; Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow; MoMA PS1 and the Bronx Museum of Art in New York; Museum of Contemporary Art and Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; UC Riverside Museum of Art; the Singapore Art Museum; and many others. Wilding cofounded and collaborates with subRosa, a cyberfeminist cell of cultural producers using BioArt and tactical performance in the public sphere to explore and critique the intersections of information and biotechnologies in women’s bodies, lives, and work, and she is the co-editor of “Domain Errors! Cyberfeminist Practices!” She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Creative Capital grant, and NEA artist grants.

Faith Wilding: Fearful Symmetries is a travelling exhibition organized by Threewalls, Chicago. Initiating curators for the exhibition are Shannon Stratton and Abigail Satinsky. The exhibition and tour are made possible in part by: The Irving Harris Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Other People’s Pixels, and Threewalls’ benefactors, Lisa Key and Kevin Lint. Additional support in presenting the exhibition provided by the Lillian and Morrie Moss Endowment for the Visual Arts and the Rhodes College Department of Art and Art History.


Clough-Hanson Gallery is located inside Clough Hall on the Rhode College campus.  The gallery is open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.  The gallery is closed on Sundays and Mondays.  Admission to the gallery is always free. 

Should you require more information or images in a higher resolution, please don't hesitate to contact Joel Parsons, parsonsj@rhodes.edu.

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