Reported By Women: October 26
Concert:nova Presents: “A Woman’s Voice”
Reporting by Katey Parks.
“This is what the world needs right now,” says Dr. Nathaniel Stein, the Associate Curator of Photography for the Cincinnati Art Museum. “Snapshot” is a part of the larger exhibit, Life: Gillian Wearing, and can be viewed and admired now through Dec. 30 at the Cincinnati Art Museum. In this portion of her exhibit, visual artist Gillian Wearing has created a multi-screen video piece that includes ideas of memory, identity, and photographic imagery. This involves framed “snapshots” of seven different women of varying ages enacting scenes from everyday life while an elderly woman narrates her own personal recollections. To lift your art experience even higher, concert:nova created a musical reaction to the exhibit that is to be played between narrations, and includes musical selections by seven female composers.
As a woman, concert:nova’s managing artistic director, Ixi Chen, was particularly excited for this project and is hoping to make this a series. Being my first experience both at the Cincinnati Art Museum and with concert:nova, Chen was wonderfully welcoming and very knowledgeable of the music and photography. Her excitement for this project could be seen a mile away. Chen has reason to not just show excitement, but to also be very proud. Concert:nova is so new and forward that other museums are also getting on board with the cutting edge chamber music and somewhat unusual ideas. Professional violinist, Elissa Cassini, performed the chamber music for “A Woman’s Voice,” and traveled all the way from Paris to do so. In this experience, we see a woman’s voice portrayed in more ways than one. Not only do we hear a woman speak vividly of various life recollections, but we are also able to see a woman’s voice through Gillian Wearing’s photography and hear a woman’s voice through string music composed by females. In speaking with Dr. Stein about Wearing’s exhibit, he wanted to stress the fact that she is not a political artist. Wearing’s use of masks in her photography relates to the profound significance of the face as a symbol of selfhood and a point of contact between self and other.
“None of us are just ourselves,” says Stein. In a time when we are exposed to art with political meanings or clogged up with theories, it’s this clear and direct message of “genuine interest and genuine desire to understand another” that sets this exhibit apart.
Stein was such a fan of Wearing’s work that when he was appointed to associate curator in 2017, the first thing he did was bring Wearing’s art to Cincinnati. What is so wonderful about this is the fact that usually Wearing only debuts in New York City and London. To have her work here in Cincinnati and the privilege of keeping two of her pieces from this exhibit shows just how much the art museum is working to bring in more fantastic visual and musical art to our community.