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Exhibit Space

The Women's Studies Department and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender host two exhibits per year in the main lobby of Lane Hall, 204 S. State Street. The exhibits, broadly related to issues of women and gender, are available for public viewing Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm.

Winter 2018

Labors of Love and Loss

A mixed media exhibit by Marianetta Porter and Lisa Olson

Labors of Love and Loss, which will be on display in Lane Hall from January to June, considers the intertwined lives of caregivers and their dependents and charges. As artists interested in their own cultural backgrounds, Marianetta Porter and Lisa Olson turn to their individual histories as reference, far removed from their lives though still an intimate part of their identities. Historically, in both southern African American life and in the tenuous strivings of the 19th century working underclass, the primary care and comfort of others fell to women. Beyond impersonal household chores, these responsibilities entwined with sweetness and hope, heartache and loss, assured the wellbeing of those around them. How did they balance the tangle of necessity and demand against their own emotional involvements and aspirations? Labors of Love and Loss is a tribute to the resolve, commitment and fortitude of women’s love and labor.

Marianetta Porter is Professor in the Stamps School of Art and Design. Her work is grounded in the study of African American history, culture, and representation, drawing on ethnography, religious traditions, folklore, visual culture, and language to investigate the consequences of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the vernacular art of the black church, the politics of visibility, and the poetics of color.

Lisa Olson is a mixed media artist and alumna of the U-M’s Stamps School of Art and Design. Her work takes a variety of forms–books, prints, collage, drawing, and sculptural objects. Olson often uses text in combination with visual components to create meaning. Her interests include studies surrounding the fragility of the individual within historically harsh or oppressive class related social structures, and the resulting tools and systems created as strategies to navigate through.

Art Credits: Marianetta Porter and Lisa Olson