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North Adams, MA
Above: Anina Major, Hybrid Gourd, 2019, 18 x 18  14"
Director Notes
NATURE/NURTURE, our group show presenting recent works by twelve women artists opened March 4, but due to Covid-19, all the public events scheduled for this week are postponed. The exhibition has been extended through May 9 and we are only open by appointment while MASS MoCA is closed. In the meantime, we are committed to sharing this important exhibition that the artists and our team have worked so diligently on.

Using all the platforms in our digital toolbox, we will bring it to you. In the coming weeks, you will receive a series of dedicated newsletters and social media posts highlighting each artist and inviting you to engage in the discussion about the influence of gender and its impact on artistic practice.

The role played by the gallery director is, by its nature, an act of nurturing. For each artist we work with, the exhibitions we mount and collections we help build, we do so knowing every choice we make along the way reflects our responsibility to both gender and cultural diversity. We recognize that each choice made is an investment of time and resources and we know that you make these choices as well.

We are proud of this show, the hard work that went into it and the nurturing that took place along the way and hope you will still enjoy it virtually during this time of social distancing.

While this exhibition is hardly our first in forty years to highlight issues related to gender, it is the first to specifically address the questions on the role that gender identity has and continues to play. The artists who all identify as female were asked to reflect on the nurturing they experienced in their families, through education, and throughout their careers. These discussions took place by phone, by email and over dinner when each artist delivered their work. All this took place with the political backdrop of the presidential campaign and the important role that gender will continue to play during the election and in powerful political positions in government and the future cabinet.

In August 2019, when we met with our neighbors on the MASS MoCA campus and conceived of a month of programming that highlights the work of women artists, curators, art professionals in a series of exhibitions and the FOREFRONT2020 symposium, there was no Covid-19 even on the horizon. We are hopeful that events will be rescheduled, but during this time when we are socially distant we still have the opportunity to socially connect, albeit digitally. We encourage and invite you to participate in the discussion by contributing your own experiences and links to recommended readings.

Lastly, we hope you will consider that every choice you make to give time, allocate resources, and make room in your life, has the capacity to "nurture" the next creative work by living artists. In this crisis, many of them do not have a safety net, may lose their "gig" work and fall behind financially. The best thing you can do for them is to buy their work and nurture their careers.

Follow our links, look at artworks, read about the artists and along with us, consider the role of Nature/Nurture and gender in artistic practice.

Thank you and stay safely in touch by email or phone.

Leslie Ferrin and the Ferrin Contemporary Team

March 4 – May 9, 2020

Ferrin Contemporary is pleased to present Nature/Nurture, a group exhibition of twelve contemporary female artists invited to explore the influence of gender and its impact on their practice.

This timely exhibition explores these ideas that range from direct interpretations of the natural world to more abstract notions, such as the construction of gender and the endowed role of women within their personal and professional careers. Works in clay range in form from individual vessels to composed still lifes and figural and abstract sculpture.

Gallery director Leslie Ferrin chose a group of twelve female artists whose works and careers provide a range of diverse perspectives related to age, cultural identity and work being done in contemporary ceramics. Considering the impact that the #MeToo movement is having on all professions, Ferrin asked the artists to pause and reflect on the role gender plays in their artistic practice and to consider the nurturing experiences that have shaped them.

Ferrin writes, “A renewed awareness and galvanizing commitment for change is surging through American cultural and academic institutions, organizations and businesses of every sort, exposing the crying need for structural change; specifically, the advancement of equality for artists of all genders and elimination of sexual harassment, wage discrimination and other forms of sexism that continue to affect the lives of women, transgender and non-binary individuals. As part of the movement to reverse and rebalance with new priorities and opening doors, it is crucial to offer opportunities to artists who have been historically marginalized.”

Artists include:

Cristina Córdova | Giselle Hicks | Lauren Mabry  | Anina Major | Crystal Morey | Kadri Pärnamets Sally Silberberg | Linda Sikora | Linda Sormin | Mara Superior | Rae Stern | Tricia Zimic

Nature assigned these artists, who identify as female, on a given path, whereas nurture is an accumulation of experiences, influences and impact with both positive and negative results on personal and professional lives. Seen as a whole, this group of twelve women artists who live and work throughout the USA, is representative of the rising tide of professional opportunities for women artists. While significant earnings and advancement gaps remain, a course correction is underway through the increasing number of gender and culturally specific exhibitions. As priorities shift for museum collections, educational public programming and private collectors, these efforts to course-correct are bringing recognition to artists previously overlooked and undervalued and to undocumented legacies. Nature/Nurture seeks to contribute to and further this recognition.

Inspired by the important work of Judith Butler and Helen Longino, the artists in the show were invited to explore the influence of ‘Nature/Nurture’ within their practice. The work ranges from more direct interpretations of the natural world, to more abstract notions, such as the construction of gender, and endowed role of women.

“Possibility is not a luxury; it is as crucial as bread.”
― Judith Butler, Undoing Gender, 2004

Download Press Release HERE


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FERRIN CONTEMPORARY presents contemporary ceramic art for exhibition and sale at 1315 MASS MoCA Way in North Adams, MA; at ProjectArt at 54 Main Street in Cummington, MA and at galleries and museums around the world.

BY APPOINTMENT DUE TO COVID-19 until MASS MoCA reopens regular hours.
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PROJECT ART supports and promotes local and international ceramic art and artists through artist residencies, internships, workshops, studio rentals, events and exhibitions at 54 Main Street in Cummington, MA.

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