The Luxury of Exercise, an exhibition in which Claudia DeMonte continues to express her singular vision of a woman’s role in the world with her Female Fetish sculptures and drawings and an installation of dozens of small bronze exercising women, will be shown at the June Kelly Gallery, 166 Mercer Street, from September 10 through October 6.
In a new monograph entitled Claudia DeMonte, Agnes Gund, president emerita of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, writes in a foreword that she marvels “at how tenaciously and passionately DeMonte has explored the relationship of images and women.”
“For more than thirty years,” Gund wrote, “she has addressed her chosen themes again and again, employing numerous strategies within a wide array of media. One senses a vibrant, concerned, empathetic soul in them all.”
In the monograph, just published by Pomegranate, art writer Eleanor Heartney
says in an essay on DeMonte that the artist’s travels “had made her increasingly aware of the way that objects act as surrogates for important issues in our lives.”
Thus, in this exhibition, DeMonte’s Female Fetish objects include exercise weights, a running shoe and a Yoga figure sculpted from wood and covered with pewter pictographic configurations that are reminiscent of the Milagros in Mexican folk art.
Heartney writes that DeMonte’s small bronzes are “leavened with an awareness of aging” and “depict a pony-tailed woman in various exercises and yoga postures gamely doing her best to preserve her health and agility.”
The pieces manifest an energy that is abstract, powerful and celebratory while being intensely engaged with self, culture, and humanity.
Heartney says that “the most memorable aspect of DeMonte’s work is its wit.”
“Feminist and funny, her paintings, sculptures, prints and installations demonstrate that challenges to the patriarchy, redefinitions of the canon and the dethroning of high art don’t have to be ponderous matters,” Heartney writes. “Her work proves that charm and insouciance can go a long way in the battle to get people to think.”
DeMonte lives and works in New York City and Kent, Connecticut. She
received a bachelor's degree from College of Notre Dame of Maryland in Baltimore
and an MFA from Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.
DeMonte's work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions
nationally and throughout the world. The many public and private collections in which
she is represented include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum,
New York; Bass Museum, Miami, FL; New Orleans Museum of Art, LA; Corcoran
School of Art, Washington, DC; Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN; University of
Maryland, College Park; Contemporary Art Museum, Villa Rufolo, Ravello, Italy;
Warsaw Museum of Modern Art, Poland; University of Oldenburg, Germany, and the
Hvidore Art Library, Denmark.