The lecture will acquaint the audience with artist Beverly Semmes, whose work incorporates sculpture, painting, drawing, film, photography, and performance. These complementary elements adhere in surprising ways, probing the paradoxes and complexities of the female body and its representation.
Semmes became known for her large-scale dress works in the early 1990s. Her imposing sculpture Buried Treasure (1994), in which the very long sleeve of a shroud-like black gown twists and turns across the floor, is on exhibition as part of The Fabric of Felicity. In this lecture Semmes will discuss Buried Treasure in the context of her early work from the 1990s leading to her most recent work titled FRP: Arcade (2018) installed in the Carnegie Museum’s Heinz Architectural Center in the Carnegie International, 57th Edition. At the core of Semmes’ most recently installed exhibition at the Carnegie Museum is a video of a fashion show made in collaboration with designer Jennifer Minniti. The fashion show featured both non-professional and professional models, with a variety of body types. Accessorizing the clothing are ceramics from Semmes’ Sketchpots series—fleshy, heavy, impractical “anti-ceramics” that riff on and complicate the historically feminine form of the vessel.