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Exhibitions: Past

Women's Work...?

Works by Waxy Buildup, Kim Salerno, and Candice Smith Corby

September 10 – October 15, 2009

Women's Work...? Women's Work...? Women's Work...? Women's Work...? Women's Work...? Women's Work...? Women's Work...? Women's Work...? Women's Work...? Women's Work...?

This exhibition brings together 4 women whose works speak to issues such as cultural identity, gender roles and responsibilities. Through their art they reveal their struggles, anxieties and celebrations. Their works are a mirror onto a landscape that can, at times, reflect our own efforts to balance the demands of a career and parenthood with cultural roles and expectations. Often their works employ common materials such as doilies, hankies, placemats, wallpaper designs, or borrow familiar images depicting the perfect homemaker. Whether mundane or practical, decorative or ornamental, humorous or reverential, their images reach out to all of us.

Trayc Claybrook and Deanna Wood make up the group Waxy Buildup: Cleaning House. Hailing from Texas, the duo primarily uses encaustic painting methods and references familiar 1950s iconic imagery of happy homemakers toiling about in the kitchen. However the work is not without ironic undertones – and behind the humor is a sharp edge reminding us that much more lies beneath that Formica surface.

Kim Salerno, a Newport based artist, works with materials you might pick-up from a crafts store. Along with these items, beads, fake fur, fringe, and tassels, she works with other traditional arts media to create three dimensional objects and recreate dimensional spaces that turn the notions of decorator, art maker, and painter upside down.

From Massachusetts, Candice Smith Corby often repurposes hankies, placemats or tablecloths adding painted imagery to the surfaces of these materials. Her work is both an homage to the anonymous woman who may have made the original items and a reflection of her own sometimes conflicted feelings about the cultural roles that define her – wife, mother, sexual object – and finding other ways to define herself.

Kathleen Hancock

The Artists

Candice Smith Corby

With the inclusion of found objects, this body of new work is an extension of an ongoing series, Familiar Moments. Typically, I add painted images onto found fabrics, including napkins, placemats, doilies, tablecloths, and hankies, which many have embroidery done by hand. I often think of how these pieces were one of the few creative outlets for women and although there is a lot of care and love put into them, there is also sadness in that exclusivity. I find a personal connection with these anonymous women of another time and era through each of our added embellishments. Another subsequent layer is that each adorned piece of fabric is meant to adorn something else.

The images that I have added to the fabric combine furniture, the human body, and domestic objects. They all deal with conflicted feelings of domestic celebration and potential domestic entrapment and disillusionment. I thought of women I know and how women deal with different roles that aren't always necessarily wanted, but acquired. I considered female stereotypes as a mother and hence "no longer a sexual being," loss of self, and dependency. Collective feelings of abandonment, isolation, and inadequacy can get buried within a well-decorated house. At the same time, the images of beautiful things also embrace the love that is tied into being a caregiver- whether it is of people or objects.

Kim Salerno

These wall hangings combine patterned domestic imagery of garden and architectural elements, decorative objects, and silhouetted figures. The images coexist in a flattened, patterned, fragmented, highly decorative scene. Materials from fabric and craft stores include plastic, fake fur, foam, beads, crystals, holographic paper, tulle, fringe, fabric and tassels as cloth, fiber and thread adorn more conventional art materials. This work is an exploration of decoration which is shunned from formal inquiry in both contemporary fine art and design.

A forgotten carrier of meaning, decoration is an avenue of feminist thought which reveals women's contribution to visual culture. It has been persistently marginalized. Similarly, this work draws from a variety of art and popular culture sources such as, William Morris, Ikea catalogues, decorator magazines and Indian miniature painting.

Trayc Claybrook

We brainstormed on a title that played on the idea of wax and came up with "Waxy Buildup : Cleaning House." We decided to interpret it each in our own way. I decided totake the approach to this theme from the inside out. I have been doing some personal-inner work and felt that this was the perfect opportunity for me to finalize and release some of the old habits and beliefs I had gotten rid of and honor the new points of view and truth that have moved into those spaces. I chose to use the image of the woman's legs in red pumps as a metaphor for my process of killing off "the wicked witch" in myself that no longer served me. The other elements, images, and text represent new lessons learned and ways of "being."

Deanna Wood

When we came up with the concept and the phrase "waxy buildup," I immediately visualized the stereotypical 50s housewife – happy to not only serve her family and clean her house but look beautiful to boot. I used words and text that evoked the advertising aimed at the typical 50s housewife – "saves time!", "for your family," and "clean and pure." These words, combined with the house shape and imagery of the happy housewife, create a body of work that is both nostalgic and cynical. The nostalgic images and words allude to a happier, simpler time that most likely didn't exist, except perhaps on TV.


Trayc Claybrook began her career as a partner in Reel FX Creative Studios in 1996. She has an extensive background in painting, printmaking, book making, graphic design, film/video and the visual effects industries. Awards include the Northern Arts Council 14th Annual National Show Donor Award and a 2007 Bronze Remi Award from the Worlfest film festival in Houston, TX. Currently, she is a professor in the Digital Filmmaking & Video Production, BFA program at the Art Institute of Dallas. Claybrook earned a BFA in painting/printmaking from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1991, an AA in Computer Animation from the Art Institute of Dallas in 1995, and an MFA in Painting and Graphic Design from Texas Woman's University in 2004. She is currently working on a PhD in Aesthetics, Art and Technology from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Kim Salerno's work has been exhibited throughout the United States in galleries, cultural centers and museums. Her work has won many awards including a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and a fellowship from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Salerno earned a master of architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a certificate in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA from Smith College. In addition to teaching, Salerno has also worked as an architect. She has taught art and design at colleges and universities throughout the country including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She now teaches at the University of Rhode Island.

Trayc Corby is currently the Gallery Director at Stonehill College. She received an MFA in painting from Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA, 2001 and a BFA in painting, Tyler School of Art/ Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, 1991-95. Recent exhibitions include Women of the Cloth, The Art Gallery at Bunker Hill Community College, Boston, MA ; Dress/Redress, The Women's Studies Research Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; and a Solo Show, Anderson Gallery, Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, MA.

Deanna Wood holds an MFA in painting from Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX, 2004, an MA in graphic design from Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX, 1994, and a BFA, graphic design from Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX, 1990. Recent exhibitions include Seeking Shelter, Leslie Powell Foundation and Gallery, Lawton, OK; Degrees, Gallery M2, Houston, TX; a solo exhibition at Ernden Fine Art Gallery, Provincetown, MA; and Some Like It Hot, Texas Artists Museum, Port Arthur, TX.