The colloquial catchphrase “that’s what she said” is examined through a feminist lens with the multimedia art exhibition open through April 1, 2019 at the Edwin W. Zoller Gallery located in the Visual Arts Building.
Curators Xalli Zuniga, a Ph.D. candidate in the Penn State School of Visual Arts, and alumna Katie Hovencamp have brought together works from 41 artists from around the world to present a multimedia show that offers a rebuttal to the phrase that they believe “denotes a regard towards the female body as a territory to be controlled and conquered by the male gaze.”
The first iteration of the show debuted in 2018 at International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art in Scranton, which is also the fictional setting of the popular television show “The Office.” The show furthered the popularity of the phrase “that’s what she said,” which presented the curators with an opportunity to explore the phrase in a setting that was a perfect fit for the show.
“The works metaphorized iron as the masculine impetus for implementing violence as an effective means to subjugate the other, the different,” Zuniga said in a curatorial statement. “Aided by weaponry forged in metal, colonization became epitomized by the penetration of a masculine agent into a virgin land in order to appropriate it and cultivate it according to his own particular essentialist and rational mythologies.”
The Zoller show expands on what Zuniga and Hovencamp feel they accomplished in Scranton and digs deeper into the concept of returning agency to the body of woman a woman? women? and “to activate this territory that has been historically reduced to the passivity of object hood objecthood?.”
“Iron casting is an act of resistance that challenges the conventional notion of women as the second sex and the work of the artists depicts their struggles to create equality,” Zuniga said. “And what we hope is for the show to groom the social conditions required to recognize spaces in which both men and women can coexist.”
In addition to the original iron sculptures that forge the deeper meaning of the show, visitors to the Zoller Gallery will be treated to sculptures created using various materials, linoleum cut prints, letter press, silkscreen, video installations and much more.
On Feb. 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Laurel Charleston will offer a performance art exhibition, and on March 1 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Zuniga and Hovencamp will offer a curator’s talk.
“This is a show that is free and open to everyone,” Hovencamp said. “And I hope visitors think about the global perspective of what’s happening, within the context of the show, and maybe even view it as a call to action.”