COMING OF AGE
Ramune Luminaire, Judith A. Mason
and Mary Kainer
Curator: Pam Patterson
Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, 143 Simpson Ave, Bowmanville, ON L1C 3K8
September 3 to October 1, 2017
Opening: Sunday September 3 at 2pm with a performance by Judith Mason.
Closing Reception: Sunday, October 1 at 2pm includes artist talks by Ramune Luminaire & Mary Kainer
Mary Kainer, Ramune, Judith A. Mason
Curatorial Statement by Pam Patterson
Coming of Age, as exhibition, reflects the deeply ambivalent social and personal perceptions of aging. Are the senior years a time of completion, reflection and serenity, or of impoverishment, loss and sorrow? Whether glorified or disparaged, aging is buried under a heap of preconceived ideas. Three accomplished female multi-media artists, Mary Kainer, Ramune Luminaire, and Judith A. Mason, each hovering around her 60th year, excavate this messy terrain. They consider age not only as a biological fact, but a cultural – and gendered – one.
Kainer’s banner-like quirky mixed-media drawings combine data, collage, biomorphic forms and text. They address a range of health issues for the elderly: dementia, diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis and vision loss. In them, she confronts the related over-prescription for geriatric, oft ill-defined illnesses and draws attention to individual experiences of deprivation that challenge the formation of existing societal myths around aging. Her accompanying figurative sculptures twist and reach, achingly passionate in their struggle.
A larger than life-sized female form by Luminaire pirouettes and arches her naked body with abandonment as she defies the disparaging descriptive words on the pedestal beneath used, at times, to describe the aging woman. Across the gallery, her floor-to-ceiling full-wall wooden game board – replicating “Snakes and Ladders” – plays out in surreal drawings an enticing, chaotic game for the over-60s: fall in love, long hospital stay, travel to see Taj Mahal, Alzheimer’s!
Mason’s evocative, vibrantly rich abstract paintings and mythological drawings combine in triptych form to tell of the not-easily-articulated interior life of the older woman. These triptychs and the accompanying group of felted marionette-like figures restage her original ground – the psychic, physical and material space/places from which her feelings, sensations and sense of self emerged. Her evolving experiences of her familial intimate relationships as content are then exposed as she circumnavigates the terrain through these works (including an opening performance) showing collapse, emptiness, starkness, storms, pleasure, pressure and release.
The three, as generative makers, combine efforts in an attic installation where the detritus of their creative lives is reformed into seductive heaps of objects and materials exposed or partially hidden as memory boxes or illusive reminiscences. A contemporary triad of witches, they hover over a cauldron: oh, let the moment come when I may give myself over entirely to… to what? To art?
The Art of Aging: New Exhibit Explores Pleasures of Becoming Older
EverythingZoomer.com, Jayne MacAulay |
The sparkling, naked dancer catches your eye the moment you enter the gallery. Poised en pointe on one foot, arms akimbo, head exuberantly thrown back, she’s having a surprising moment for someone with a plump, grandmotherly body. It’s a defiant pose, for artist Ramune Luminaire has placed her sculpture on a plinth etched with words sometimes used to describe older women—among them: dowdy, confused, withered, lonely, invisible, unsteady, hysterical. “I never thought I’d see a body like mine up on a pedestal,” one woman told Luminaire, tears brimming in her eyes. Aptly enough, the sculpture bears the label “About Time.”… READ MORE ON EVERYTHING ZOOMER’S WEBSITE >
coming of age
publishes in Blank Spaces, Sept 2017
As women age they become marginalized and invisible; as artists they are even further sidelined, no longer viewed as cutting edge. These dismissive conceptions are being challenged by artists Kainer, Luminaire, and Mason in their current collaboration, Coming of Age, a compelling look at what it means to be a 60-year-old woman in the world today.
Aging takes centre stage as the overarching theme in Coming of Age: the body, the circumstances, and the interactions—exploring women as daughters, hags, artists, collaborators, patients, and caregivers.
Mary Kainer looks at the body, the way it breaks down, the way it takes control of our lives through illness, the medications thrust upon us by need and greed. She creates playful images combining text, collage, graphs, organic and mechanical forms that, on closer view, expose societal ills. Her artistic practice includes drawing, painting, illustration, sculpture, obsessive construction, photography, video, and installation.
Ramune Luminaire is trained in sculpture and ceramics and now focuses on drawing, sculpture, and writing as her primary media. She creates powerful drawings of women’s aging bodies and exposes inner and shameful thoughts through text. She looks at the circumstances and realities that life and fate bring us and the attitudes that society takes towards older women.
Judith A. Mason has studied textiles, ceramics, drawing and printmaking, sculpture and photography. Her work ranges from large colourful paintings to small subversive sculptural installations, and examines the interactions we have with others—our sisters, mothers, children, husbands, lovers, friends, and how those interactions are now seen in a new light. In this new place, past actions are not so innocent and we are culpable for our manipulations and our narrow selfish lens. We seek amends and strive to accept, love and thank those who have travelled with us.
Luminaire’s large [14 x 9ft] wall-piece based on the game Snakes & Ladders gives a playful and poignant insight into the possible joys and pitfalls that lie ahead for older women. In preparation for this work, Luminaire canvassed 60 women over the age of 60, asking them to share their hopes and fears for the years ahead. Fears included losing ‘my sense of humour’, ‘never making love again’, ‘being alone’, and ‘leaving my home’ while hopes spanned ‘writing that novel’, ‘walking the Camino’, ‘seeing my children thrive’, ‘living in a community of likeminded souls’. These responses, in combination with her own feelings about the future, form the basis for Luminaire’s wall pieces Virtues & Vicissitudes. Luminaire’s sculpture About Time shows a slightly larger-than life female figure balanced on one toe in an impossibly acrobatic, balletic pose. She is obviously older. Her back is arched, her breasts are flying, belly flopping, head thrown back and arms outstretched in defiance of the words subtly printed on the plinth beneath her. At first glance the plinth appears to be plain, but there are words etched into its surface, words often used to describe older women: dry, puckered, redundant, irrelevant, fragile, slow.
Kainer takes a dark personal exploration of her future and the many diseases of aging—vision loss, osteoporosis, dementia, cancer, over-medication, diabetes, prolapse—in a room filled with drawings. Each drawing is a large 7-foot scroll filled with organic imagery, text, data, and collaged elements. Some images mimic medical illustrations; others create moody environments. Whimsical appearances can be misleading on closer inspection.
Through her ceramic figurative sculptures Kainer reveals the emotional experience of physical pain, immobility, decline, and infirmity. Exposed, a playful short video has images of aging women artists hiding and then joyfully revealing themselves.
Mason presents an intimate, emotional response to a life lived in painting, drawing, performance, and papier-mâché sculpture. Drawn and painted panels investigate complex intimate family bonds and relationships. Dreams and reality intertwine to create a psychic terrain. As she approaches the age of 60, Mason reflects on how different her world appears. Beliefs, morals, causes, and opinions no longer seem so black and white—her world and body have softened with age, evolved into a loving acceptance of what is and who we are–fragile, insecure human beings seeking love and a sense of belonging. Plans and goals have slipped away, leaving in their place a freedom from the. confines of culture. Now the things that matter are authenticity, reflection, forgiveness, acceptance, consideration, and love.