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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Jane Zweibel

Brooklyn, NY
United States

Ms. Zweibel holds a BA from Bennington College and an MFA in Painting from Columbia University. She received a fellowship and residency from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She is the recipient of grants from the Puffin Foundation and The Artist’s Fellowship Inc., and was selected for the Artist in the Marketplace program at The Bronx Museum of the Arts. Ms. Zweibel also received fellowship residency awards from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Banff Centre of the Arts.

Reviews include Art in America, The New York Times, and American Artist. Ms. Zweibel’s work was featured in and on the cover of the September/October 2009 issue of FiberARTS magazine. Ms. Zweibel has had numerous shows in the USA and abroad. Solo shows have been held at the Mary H. Dana Women Artist Series, Rutgers; The Transit Museum, NY; 55 Mercer Gallery; and Mercer Gallery at Monroe Community College, Rochester. Her work has also been featured in group shows at the Institute for Women and Art at Rutgers University, Schaffler Gallery at Pratt Institute, Proteus Gowanus Gallery, The Arts Guild of New Jersey, Tabla Rasa Gallery, Project Room 88, The Painting Center, Sarah Bowen Gallery, David Beitzel Gallery, Trans Hudson Gallery, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, and Marymount Manhattan College Gallery.

Ms. Zweibel is currently represented by Leslie’s Artgallery in Bridel, Luxembourg, where she had a second solo show in December 2009-January 2010. Leslie’s Artgallery also recently published a full color catalogue of Ms. Zweibel’s work. Ms. Zweibel had her first solo show at Chaffers Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand in February-March 2010. Ms. Zweibel will have a mid-career retrospective of work at the Kulay-Diwa Gallery, Manila, The Philippines, in December 2010. The artist’s work is included in numerous private collections worldwide.

Feminist Artist Statement

In my work, I am fully engaged in an on-going exploration of issues of identity, in particular female identity. I use self-portraiture as a subject through which I can express and conceptualize meaning in a chaotic world. By utilizing my own image in my work, I subvert the dominant and traditional concept of the “male gaze” in art. In my work, I appear in multiple roles, guises, disguises, and perspectives. For example, I have depicted myself as middle-aged mermaids, women conducting epic and everyday struggles with pantyhose, and as characters from film and TV. I often use props and images-such as flowers, pill bottles, and abandoned buildings-as symbols that hint at the multiple meanings in my narratives. These things have feminine connotations and associations: flowers become icons of desire, beauty, and decay; pill bottles speak of anxiety and vulnerability, and structures embody the need for home and safety. I appear in my art as both myself, specific and unique, and as a universal Everywoman. I see my work as simultaneously building upon, and growing from, the historical continuum of women artists who have utilized self-representation as their primary investigation of the female, archetypal self, and as my own, very personal means of attempting to reinvent and reinvigorate the wheel of female self-portraiture. My work constitutes an intensive examination of issues particular to gender, including sexuality, body image, and aging. The subject matter of my artworks is about the travails and battles, and ultimate self-acceptance and empowerment, that comes with the territory of the perpetual changes and transformations of the female body, psyche, and self. I create bodies of work that take the form of either more traditional stretched canvas paintings, or my “stuffed paintings”. The latter are hand-sewn and cotton stuffed canvas figural objects with paintings on the façades. These pieces blur boundaries of craft and fine art, and are labor intensive. As a contemporary female artist, I wed content and form in ways that both arise from, and expand upon, the foundation of feminist art. I paint narratives of my intimate world, while also imbuing the collective experience and lives of women with meanings of my own making.

<p>Self-Portrait as Midlife Mermaid #7</p>

Self-Portrait as Midlife Mermaid #7

My “Midlife Mermaids” are self-portraits that combine realistic and fantasy imagery and content. Specifically, this series of work explores and portrays core elements of female identity, both personal and collective. I use each “Midlife Mermaid” as a vehicle for an intensive examination of cogent issues of gender, sexuality, and aging.

Self-Portrait as Midlife Mermaid #7

My “Midlife Mermaids” are self-portraits that combine realistic and fantasy imagery and content. Specifically, this series of work explores and portrays core elements of female identity, both personal and collective. I use each “Midlife Mermaid” as a vehicle for an intensive examination of cogent issues of gender, sexuality, and aging.

Self-Portrait as Mermaid With Daryl Hannah’s Hair (Splash)

This piece is from my body of work, “A Cut Above the Rest: A Salon of Self-portraits and Styles”. This series of stuffed paintings was created for a site-specific installation. Self-portraits are combined with famous, iconic hairstyles, which are culled from a range of sources: pop figures, history, mythology, and fairy tales.

Self-Portrait as Lucy With Bottles and Flowers

This piece is from my series of stuffed paintings collectively titled “Prayer Project”. It is a self-portrait in the guise of the character Lucy from the “I Love Lucy” TV show. In this stuffed painting, and the series in general, tension is created through the depiction of private moments of intense contemplation, subjected to the viewer’s public gaze. The props, flowers and pill bottles, layer the image with multiple meanings. Both humor and pathos are contained in this particular image.

Self-Portrait Praying #2

In this piece from my “Prayer Project” series of stuffed paintings, the subject matter depicted is three-fold. The self-portrait in a pose of prayer and supplication elicits an intense connection with the viewer. The image of the abandoned asylum suggests age-old and contemporary states of anxiety and fear. The field of flowers conjures up cycles of decay and regeneration.

Self-Portaits Praying With Masks and Gloves

This painting is from my “Prayer Project” series. It depicts a group of self-portraits in attitudes of prayer. This configuration of women are adorned with masks and gloves. The imagery and narrative suggests ritual and deals with issues of health, illness and mortality.

Before (Barefoot and Pregnant)

This painting is from my “Barefoot and Pregnant” series. The depicted imagery and narrative content is both humorous and disturbing. In this piece, I am playing with jarring juxtapositions. The huge, nude, pregnant woman stands staring out at the viewer in crowded, oblivious subway train. She is both me and an Everywoman. Hovering near the ceiling are two angel toddlers, based on both my young son and the idea of Renaissance Putti.

Self-Portrait as Misfit #4

This painting is part of a series titled “Misfits”. It is both a self-portrait and a portrait of an Everywoman. She is depicted in the midst of a lush landscape, involved in an epic and everyday struggle: that of trying to “fit” into one’s own skin, and a woman’s ordinary battle with pantyhose. The narrative is simultaneously humorous and disturbing.

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26 Winthrop Street
Brooklyn, NY 11225
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