Project for Empty Space is pleased to present invisible fruit: stories of camouflage from the periphery, a solo exhibition of work by PES Artist in Residence, Shoshanna Weinberger.
Pulling from an ongoing Invisible Visibility series, Shoshanna Weinberger’s solo exhibition invisible fruit: stories of camouflage from the periphery explores the standards and consequential implications and experiences of racial identity and external perception or imposition of racial categorization. Much of Weinberger’s work is rooted in a exploration of her Caribbean-American heritage. It draws strongly on the complexity of heritage and assumed norms as she goes about defining the female archetype. Referencing her own adolescent memory and our current xenophobic zeitgeist, Weinberger renders her female muses along a spectrum of character types. Some are excessive, sexualized, and quirky; while others are passive, or dominant- a culmination of figures that ultimately question standards of beauty and identity.
Weinberger is best known for her silhouetted female forms; invisible fruit delivers a new era of these personas diving into a more autobiographical series. The exhibition pokes, prods, and reexamines the complex legacies of “passing,” the phenomenon of the ‘one drop’ rule, and the navigation of an internal dual/pluralistic cultural identity. Pulling their style from a distinctively 80’s couture, the subjects feature electric pink lipstick, fire engine red splotches, zebra prints, and teased hair. Both their fashion sense and racially ambiguous emphasized features owe their origins to the artist’s personal coming of age story. Weinberger, born in Kingston, Jamaica, the daughter of an Afro-Carribean mother and a White American father, moved to the US and grew up at a time when legal interracial marriage, and the multiracial nuclear family, was still relatively novel (interracial marriage became legal in the United States in 1967, Weinberger was born in 1973). Weinberger’s personal history is inextricably linked to her praxis and her exploration of a specific, and often under acknowledged racial identity.
In her process, Weinberger approaches and incorporates her memories into her work with the analysis of a humanities scientist. She meticulously dissects and evaluates every element. “I approach my studio practice much like a visual anthropologist, cataloguing my experiences. Incorporating multiple body parts as well as subtracting body parts is historically apart of my visual mark making. Some of the works are presented as a grid and in this series reminiscent of school photos as well as specimens.” In this series, the artist reverses the traditional conveyance of the silhouette by inverting the color scheme. She creates her subjects as anonymous, referencing her own cultural identity that at time falls into cultural ambiguity. Weinberger focuses on lips, lipstick colors, and the act of wearing lipstick that for many young women signified a passage into womanhood. Stripes are incorporated to signify zebra patterns or barcodes as graphic archetypes of herself. Hair-dos are consciously re-created from her personal history and those found in popular culture to create familiarity, tension and humor. The works presented examines the concept of hybridity, coexisting in human and animal form, of one both grotesque and sexualized through abstraction.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Shoshanna Weinberger received her MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2003, and her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1995. Her work has been exhibited across the world in numerous solo exhibitions as well as notable group exhibitions. She has also been the recipient of several awards, residencies, and grants; including, a 2016 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts, the 2015 Joan Mitchell Foundation AIR residency, and the 2014 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. Her work is in several permanent public collections such as the New Jersey State Museum, the Newark Museum, the Sagamore Collection, the Girls Club Collection, the Margulies Collection, and Davidson College, to name a few.