Artist: Jane Weibel
Exhibition: I am a Feminist
Media: Material and Spacial Arts, Sculpture, Ceramics, Photography
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov-East Gallery
For this week’s Artist Conversation, I went into the Max L. Gatov Gallery East, where I was introduced to the “I am a Feminist” exhibition created by Jane Weibel. Jane Weibel is graduating this semester with a BFA degree in the School of Art’s Ceramics Program. Ever since she was little she was inclined to the arts but it took her a while to finally follow her dreams. She was first a biology major then a massage therapist and at the last minute, she finally switched her major to ceramics. She felt that ceramics is what she loves to do and that no other major can compare to it.
Upon first seeing “I am a Feminist,” I was immediately drawn to the giant colorful cube cage display that somehow reminded me of Rubik’s Cube. It was held up by four metal posts and all four sides were covered in colorful 3D printed plastic and metal pieces. Which I later found out that it represented a cage in which society boxes in women and that no matter how pretty or accommodating society tries to make it, it is still a cage that is meant to keep women in. I was also amazed by the big pile of colorful shredded paper and all the rock boulders that had pictures above or beneath them. She also had pictures attached to each other with clips that made a giant collage of pictures and she had ceramic boulders hanging from the ceiling with string. Overall, her piece had a lot of colorful things going on that all helped enhance what she was trying to convey, which was that she is a feminist.
If you haven’t caught on yet, Jane Weibel’s exhibition is her way of (hesitantly) announcing to the world that she was a feminist. The reason she hesitates is because it is such a stigmatized label but enough is enough. Through her installation, she explores the ways women are objectified, stereotypes, shamed, cheated, dismissed, repressed, overpowered, ignored, and harmed. For example, through the big pile of shredded paper, she is portraying a shredded identity like someone who was somebody before but has become “erased” or in sense a nobody. I think that the shredded pile of paper was a great idea to portray how women are so easily being dismissed and overpowered in society just because they are women. Another piece that I found interesting is the piece that I have as the featured image. Ms. Weibel explained that it symbolized how women seem to be “pulled in different directions” and are always stuck in the losing side. Lastly, one thing that I noticed is that all of the pictures that she had of people spread out throughout the room never showed faces, they only showed bodies. I asked her why she did that, and she said that it was because she wanted her “models” to stay anonymous since they attend CSULB. Another reason why she did that is because if she showed faces it would have made her art piece about every individual present in whichever picture and she wanted her art piece to be generalized to women.
Overall, I genuinely enjoyed Jane Weibel’s exhibition. I felt very connected to it because I’m always very dodgy and hesitant whenever feminism comes up in any situation because I tend to associate feminism with the extreme feminist who “hate men” and who think women are superior than men. When in reality, feminism is about gender equality. Ms. Weibel’s piece had such a strong message and I loved it. I hope that many people felt connected to her piece like I did and that they got the message she is trying to spread.