The Wells College String Room Gallery is pleased to present its first show of the 2018–2019 year: "Bow, Bend and Tarry," a solo exhibition by artist Mara Baldwin. The gallery invites all to join the artist for an opening reception on Friday, Sept. 7, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Baldwin will also host an artist's talk on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 5:00 p.m. in the same location. The exhibition will remain on view until Friday, Oct. 5, 2018.
"Bow, Bend and Tarry" examines the question of what happens when a community's foundational beliefs ultimately lead to their inability to thrive. The Shakers, who arrived in the United States from England just prior to the American Revolution, organized numerous villages throughout Upstate New York, New England, and neighboring regions. A once rapidly growing utopian society, the Shaker's numbers have now dwindled due to a rigid belief system demanding celibacy, autonomy, and skepticism of new members. The Shakers in the present day are left with only two members, and their society soon to be survived only by their work — most notably their exquisitely labored furniture and impressive archive of songs.
Recent work by Mara Baldwin considers this post-utopian landscape and the legacy that has been left behind, exploring the persistence of a disappeared community by examining what still remains. This work does not seek to provide a historical recreation or celebration of Shaker traditions, specifically, but views their labor and devotion as a departure point for creating work that blurs the lines between collectivity and authorship; mourning and survival; and reminiscence and change.
Baldwin's greater practice explores the space between real and imagined narratives from utopian literature, folk tales, ghost stories and pulp sci-fi. Her drawings, sculptures and installations pay particular attention to the historical spaces, emotional politics, longings and labor of women. Through obsessive repetition and detailed laborious rendering, historical and fictional narratives are unraveled to question issues of authenticity, community and inclusivity.
About the Artist
Mara Baldwin received her BFA from Wesleyan University in 2006 and an MFA from the California College of the Arts in 2010. Her work has shown at the Johnson Art Museum (Cornell University), Facebook Manhattan, PLAySPACE, the San Francisco Arts Commission, SOMArts, University of California–Berkeley, Triple Base Gallery, Root Division and Capricious/Company Gallery. Her accolades include the Murphy Cadogan Award, an SFMoMA SECA nomination, and residencies with the Millay Colony, Ucross Foundation, Saltonstall Foundation and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. She currently lives and works in Ithaca, N.Y., where she serves as director of the Handwerker Gallery at Ithaca College. Learn more about Mara Baldwin and her work at her personal website, marabaldwin.com.
About the String Room Gallery at Wells College
The String Room Gallery is a center for the exhibition of contemporary art in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Located on the Wells College campus, in the southwest corner of the first floor of Main Building. The String Room Gallery serves as the flagship gallery space on campus, and hosts numerous exhibits throughout the year of work by students, faculty and staff, alumni and outside artists.
For more information about the exhibit, please see the gallery's website at wells.edu/string-room-gallery, or contact Professor Katie Waugh at 315.364.3237 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit wells.edu/map for driving directions and a campus map.
About Wells College
Wells College (wells.edu) is a nationally recognized private coeducational liberal arts college located in Aurora, New York, on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. Celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2018, Wells has remained committed to providing a quality education to students through small, interactive classes in multiple disciplines and engaging coursework relevant to life in a changing world. Integrated hands-on learning opportunities, a connected community, and diverse educational opportunities give students the ability to take part in their own educations and prepare them to be active citizens and leaders.
Join us Oct. 18–21, 2018, for our 150th anniversary weekend, when alumni, parents, and the local community will join students, faculty and staff on campus to celebrate everything we love about Wells College. More info at wells.edu/150.