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Mouth (FRP Edition #1)
Archival pigment print with digitally stitched rayon embroidery, a fine, fresh impression of the only state, the full sheet, printed on white Hotpress paper, with wide margins, hand-signed, dated and numbered in pencil on the reverse by the artist, executed in an edition of 30 examples (there were also 4 numbered Artist Proofs, 3 numbered Printer’s Proofs, 4 numbered World House Editions proofs [WHE] and one annotated Bon á Tirer [BAT] proof), printed by Jennifer Mahlman of Ribuoli Digital, New York, published by World House Editions, Middlebury, Connecticut, in fine condition, unframed.
Buffalo, New York, Nina Freudenheim Gallery, Beverly Semmes: The Feminist Responsibility Project, 07 February – 11 March 2015, illustrated on the announcement card (another example).
Santa Monica, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Rhizome: Multiplicities of Abstraction, 17 January – 14 February 2015 (another example).
Staff. “News of the Print World: Selected New Editions“, article in Art in Print, volume 5, number 4, November-December 2015, p.45 (another example).
FRP, (Feminist Responsibility Project) combines the crude gesture and the careful application of ink and paint to recast the image of pornography. In the early 2000’s Beverly Semmes began this series as group of drawings made on pages taken from 1990’s era Penthouse magazines; these images are repossessed to allow for a new reading of their imagery. The project has since moved on to re-purpose all manner of contemporary and international erotica. One imagines Semmes as a rogue puritan confronted by the elaborately staged scenes found in the magazine pages. Her interventions blot out specific carnal references while occasionally allowing gaps in these blots to reveal selected passages of the scenario.
The present work, Mouth (FRP Edition #1), is the first print edition related to Semmes’ Feminist Responsibility Project series. Like a peephole distillation, the work is experienced as one erogenous detail – slightly parted glossy red lips protrude from a curtain-like form of brilliant red thread. Semmes’ urgent “re-drawing” of the appropriated pornographic image underneath with the addition of the digitally sewn rayon embroidery acts as a cover-up on top of other cover-ups and supplies a sensual pleasure of its own while relating back to the artist’s roots in her fabric sculptures. Semmes’ mixed motives, both formal and conceptual, appear as much to shield as to enhance what remains just out of reach.
Since the late 1980s, New York-based artist Beverly Semmes has experimented across a wide variety of media – creating sculptures in fabric, clay and glass, producing drawings, photographs and prints while also experimenting in performance and video – all the while exploring the relationships between craft and fine art in relation to pleasure, gender and desire. Semmes’ idiosyncratic approach to complicated feminist content has always been lurking within her work – be they in her exaggerated dress forms, abstracted in order to speak to the body in excess, or more directly, as in the present work, which is urgent, direct and erotic.
This is the second collaboration and fourth individual print project between Beverly Semmes and World House Editions dating back to 2004.
Please note the image size of this work is 4 x 3 inches (10.16 x 7.62 cm)
An example from this edition is in the collection of the Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton, New Jersey.