Medusa's Mirror: Fears, Spells, and Other Transfixed Positions

Event  |  Reviews  |  Comments
Peggy Lee, 2008 Inkjet Print 20" X 30" © Laura Swanson
Belly, 2010 Mixed Media On Canvas 92" X 30' © Katherine Sherwood
Blind Field Shuttle - Open Engagement Conference, Portland State University, 2011 Digital Print 11" X 17" © Carmen Papalia
untitled, 2006 © Neil Marcus
No Arms! (Self-Portrait), 2010 Oil Paint On Print On Raw Canvas 60" X 42" © Sunaura Taylor
Songs Without Words (Eartha Kitt), 2009 Pigment Print 18" X 14"
Clean Sheets, 2007 Video Installation © Sadie Wilcox
Dermis Leather Footwear, 2011 Latex, Cork & Thread; Digital Chromogenic Print 20" X 30" © Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi
Medusa's Mirror: Fears, Spells, and Other Transfixed Positions
Curated by: Amanda Cachia

150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612
September 13th, 2011 - October 20th, 2011
Opening: September 13th, 2011 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM

East Bay
Tue -Fri 10-5pm and Sat 11-4pm
photography, mixed-media, video-art, conceptual, figurative, modern, sculpture


In Greek mythology, Medusa was viewed as a monster, and gazing directly upon her would turn onlookers into stone. Inspired by this myth, the artists in Medusa’s Mirror address the able-bodied gaze upon the disabled subject - often viewed with fear, curiosity or wonder - by turning the gaze upon the viewer. This shift allows the disabled subject to claim agency and gives cause for the able-bodied viewer to reflect on their own frameworks. The piercing gaze as interpreted through medicine are explored in Katherine Sherwood’s mixed media paintings and Sadie Wilcox’s examinations of the roles of patient, caregiver and doctor. The medicinal gaze is further skewed into the world of the sideshow in the work of Sunaura Taylor, articulating the point of tension in the gaze.  
Several works draw from the ruptures between the able-bodied and the disabled. Deaf artist Joseph Grigely’s explores the ruptures and failures of communication, pointing to the rift between spoken and signed language. Blind artist Carmen Papalia’s Blind Field Shuttle walking tours leads the closed-eyes participants to experience the world using their other senses - primarily sound and touch. Visual representations of the body and our relationship toward body image are thoughtfully explored in Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi’s latex sculptures and in the discomfort reflected in Laura Swanson’s photographs. The body is further addressed in Neil Marcus’ drawings, an extension of his performance practice, which grapples with mobility and movement as one with dsytonia. The works in Medusa’s Mirror bring to light the able-bodied gaze upon the disabled subject and in turn point to the vulnerabilities and fragilities commonplace with all human beings.  
Medusa’s Mirror is curated by Amanda Cachia, The exhibition is part of Pro Arts’ annual open call for exhibition proposals. Pro Arts’ visual arts programming is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.