The Print Center Announces Multi-Part Project of New Work by Carmen Winant, on View April 15 to July 16, 2022

  • PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania
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  • March 16, 2022

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Carmen Winant, Women at Work (Job Cards), 2022, sun-dyed construction paper, painter’s tape, inkjet prints, 46” x 60 ¼”. Courtesy of the Artist. Commissioned by The Print Center, Philadelphia. Photo: Luke Stettner

The Print Center (TPC) will present A Brand New End: Survival and Its Pictures, a solo photography-based exhibition of new work by Carmen Winant as part of a five-component project developed by the artist through intensive research — a hallmark of her category-defying practice. The  project incorporates historical and contemporary representations of oppression, liberation and self-expression drawn from the archives of Women In Transition (WIT) and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). Founded in 1971 in Philadelphia, WIT provides services to empower people with the knowledge, support and ability to thrive beyond domestic abuse/intimate partner violence and substance abuse. NCADV is a Denver-based national organization that has been dedicated to supporting survivors and advocates, holding offenders accountable, as well as demanding a change in the conditions that lead to domestic violence since 1978.

Winant’s project aims to illuminate the often-invisible experiences of women as well as feminist strategies for survival, revolt and self-determination. It highlights the power of print (photography and printmaking) in representing how women view themselves and how photography can serve as a tool in the struggle for individual autonomy and self-representation. Through its expansive consideration of image making, domestic violence and the larger feminist movement, this project critically explores how women are supported in achieving personal agency with the help of organizations like WIT and NCADV. On view at TPC from April 15 to July 16, 2022, with a related artist book release in October 2022, the exhibition is organized by Ksenia Nouril, PhD, Jensen Bryan Curator at The Print Center.

A Brand New End: Survival and Its Pictures has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Winant, who was raised in Philadelphia, is translating, reproducing and re-contextualizing imagery from the two archives into artworks that will be installed in TPC’s galleries. Artist interventions in public spaces will unfold in numerous public transportation sites around the city. The artist book builds on the legacy of feminist publications and printed materials as vehicles for expeditious and accessible dissemination of information. Virtual and in-person public programs, some of which are organized in collaboration with WIT, are an integral component of the project.

The Print Center Executive Director Elizabeth Spungen said, “Carmen Winant is one of the most incisive artists of her generation. Her work is nothing short of radical — a bold provocation that pushes boundaries and reexamines feminist tropes. A natural extension of her photography-based practice, A Brand New End: Survival and Its Pictures is an exploration of ways in which survivors of domestic violence and substance abuse have pushed through societal and personal burdens to realize self-actualization. We are honored to present this multi-part project in partnership with Women In Transition and thank Corinne Lagermasini, WIT’s Executive Director, who is an essential thought-partner for the project.”

“Women In Transition is thrilled to be collaborating with Carmen Winant and The Print Center on this project,” said Lagermasini. “WIT has been giving voice to Survivors of domestic abuse/intimate partner violence and substance abuse for 50 years. Our archives reflect the role WIT has played in the larger feminist and domestic violence prevention movements and we are excited to see them bought to life through Carmen’s creative lens.”

Since March 2020, Winant has been exploring WIT’s extensive archive (a unique resource among such service organizations) that includes publications, how-to guides, manuals, staged photographs for instruction, newspaper clippings and ephemera. The archive provides an extraordinary window into feminism and the women’s liberation movement that began in the 1970s, when WIT was established to help newly divorced women learn strategies for navigating and thriving in a new world. Founded as a multiracial feminist collective by women for women, it evolved over the decades as new issues commanded attention, such as abuse by partners and drug addiction. Surfacing these themes of intergeneration exchange, Winant’s project considers what has changed and how the ongoing deconstruction of patriarchal systems of oppression can influence feminist ideals today.

While many of the materials in NCADV’s archive are complementary to WIT’s – newspaper clippings, buttons/pins with slogans, manuals and other guides, for example, their national scope brings an expanded perspective to the project.

Nouril said, “As an artist, Carmen is constantly challenging herself, examining issues through the lens of feminism and personal agency. In WIT’s archive, she discovered a trove of material and, thanks to our colleagues and partners, plumbed aspects of feminist history and its representation including empowerment strategies. Centering on photographic works, mixed-media collage, public interventions, and installations, her practice is uniquely suited for this project. The overall outcome our visitors will take away is a compendium of Carmen’s research, artistic manifestation of her investigations, and current resources. The project is particularly urgent at a time when Covid-19 has brought the impacts of intimate partner abuse to the forefront.”

In her practice, Winant gravitates towards found images. For the exhibition, Winant has focused on several categories of found materials including those of hand painted t-shirts, 35mm slides, newspaper clippings and “job cards” from the mid to late 1970s.

Five new collages incorporate materials from both archives including photographs and images mounted on construction paper, bleached in some areas by exposure to the sun. Snippets of blue masking tape, a signature Winant material, “punctuates space and reflects process.” The imagery and materials reflect the kind of aesthetic the artist observed in WIT and NCADV offices on posters and bulletin boards to promote healing and available services, among other resources.

A display of buttons and pins decorated with slogans taken from both archives promote the organizations as well as awareness and support for women’s rights and feminism in general.

Winant made 35mm slides of more than 200 t-shirts from WIT’s Clothesline Project which will be projected in the gallery. The Clothesline Project invited survivors of domestic abuse to design t-shirts reflecting on their path to safety. The title of the exhibition is inspired by one of these shirts, with handwritten text that reads, “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new end.”

Dozens of historic 35mm slides used in WIT and NCADV training exercises, tutorials and news stories about the organizations will also be projected. These images, staged by WIT and NCADV staff, depict self-defense methods, what to pack when leaving an abusive relationship, obtaining legal services, conducting job searches and accessing counseling. Another piece will be comprised of hundreds of newspaper clippings about domestic abuse, pulled from both archives. Winant will arrange them as a “constellation” across two walls.

Thirty “job cards” created by WIT, featuring images clipped from the book Women at Work by Betty Medsger, showcase various professions that women could consider when transitioning into the job market. The laminated cards comprise cut-out images mounted on multi-colored construction paper, with an explanation of what the job entails on the back. These have been incorporated into a new collage by Winant. Another installation in the galleries includes five publications emblematic of WIT’s and NCADV’s missions, such as The New Woman’s Survival Guide and Women in Transition: A Feminist Handbook on Separation and Divorce.

The public intervention further closes the space between art and information sharing. Artist-designed posters will be installed in bus shelters across Philadelphia featuring Winant’s restaged photographs of t-shirts from the WIT archive. These are intended to raise awareness of issues around domestic violence. This component debuts April 11 and, as Winant notes, “gives voice to the archive from survivors.” The artist book is a stand-alone artwork created in collaboration with graphic design studio Common Name. It will include materials from the exhibition, new images and research, as well as contributions from Winant, Nouril, sociologists, survivors, art historians, poets and WIT and NCADV staff.

A film by Itinerant Pictures will be released after the opening of the exhibition. Recorded at WIT and TPC in Philadelphia and the artist’s studio in Columbus, OH, the film will capture the artist’s process and the execution of the project.

The roster of public programs — in-person and online — are subject to change, so please check The Print Center website for updates. They are currently as follows:

 

Wednesday, April 13, 6pm

Artist Talk with Carmen Winant

Presented at the Elaine C. Levitt Auditorium, University of the Arts

401 South Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19102

Winant will discuss her work, process and the concepts behind A Brand New End.

 

Thursday, April 14

5:30pm                 In-person Gallery Talk with Carmen Winant and Ksenia Nouril, PhD, Jensen Bryan Curator

6 – 7:30pm           Opening Reception

 

Tuesday, April 26, 5pm

Thursday, May 12, 12pm

Wednesday, May 25, 5pm

Friday, June 10, 12pm

Guided Exhibition Tours

Free, in-person guided tours of A Brand New End with exhibition curator Ksenia Nouril.

                            

Thursday, April 28, 6pm

Panel Discussion on picturing domestic violence

Presented at The Print Center and on Zoom

Roberta Hacker, former Executive Director of Women In Transition (WIT) (1986-2006); Dr. Ethan Levine, scholar and advocate; and others who will discuss the visualization – and mediation – of domestic violence through photographs, specifically those used in service of empowerment and self-actualization.

 

Thursday, May 19, 6pm

Conversation with Carmen Winant and Donna Ferrato

Presented on Zoom

Ferrato is an internationally acclaimed photojournalist who works to document, expose and prevent domestic and sexual violence against women and children. Winant and Ferrato address how photography can bring critical awareness to pressing social issues.

 

WAVE Empowerment Self-Defense Class with Women In Transition

Presented on Zoom and in-person in June; dates and times to be announced.

This class led by WIT staff will feature discussion and activities around the five components of self-defense: Think, Yell, Run, Fight, and Tell. Participants will also be taught a few easy-to-learn physical techniques.

 

About the Artist

Carmen Winant (born 1983, San Francisco, CA; lives in Columbus, OH) is an internationally recognized photography-based artist raised in Philadelphia who utilizes installation and collage strategies to examine feminist modes of survival and revolt.

Winant's recent projects have been shown at ICA Boston, MA; Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; Patron Gallery, Chicago, IL; Wexner Center of the Arts, Columbus, OH; Sculpture Center, Long Island City, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; as well as Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway. In 2019, Winant mounted 26 of her billboards across Canada as part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

Winant’s recent artist books include My Birth (SPBH Editions and Image Text Ithaca Press, 2018) and Notes on Fundamental Joy (Printed Matter Inc., 2019). Her work is part of the collections of Museum of Contemporary Photography (MOCP), Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles; The Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; as well as Henie Onstad Art Center, Høvikodden, Norway.

Winant is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow in photography, a 2020 FCA Grant recipient in Art, and a 2021 American Academy of Arts and Letters Honoree. She holds a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MA and MFA from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco. She has been a Resident and Dean at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Madison, ME.

 

About The Print Center

Mission

For more than a century, The Print Center has encouraged the growth and understanding of photography and printmaking as vital contemporary arts through exhibitions, publications, and educational programs. The Print Center has an international voice and a strong sense of local purpose. Free and open to the public, it presents changing exhibitions, which highlight established and emerging, local, national, and international contemporary artists.

Funders

Support for The Print Center is offered by Bryn Mawr Trust; Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation; Forman Family Fund; Sheila Fortune Foundation; Fund for Children; Allen Hilles Fund; Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation; Christopher Ludwick Foundation; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; William Penn Foundation; Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; Philadelphia Cultural Fund; The Philadelphia Foundation; Rosenlund Family Foundation; Michael Shannon Designs; University of the Arts; University of Pennsylvania Office of Government and Community Affairs; Henrietta Tower Wurts Memorial; and our Board of Governors, Luminaries, members and friends. A Brand New End: Survival and Its Pictures has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. 

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