24W Artist-in-Residence: Sheila Pepe

Please join the Studio Art Department in welcoming our 2024 winter term Artist-in-Residence, Sheila Pepe.

Artist talk 5:00 - 6:00 pm on Tuesday, January 9, 2024
Loew Auditorium, Black Family Visual Arts Center
Opening reception to follow at 6:00 pm in the Jaffe-Friede Gallery, now relocated on the first floor of the Black Family Visual Arts Center.

"I make (different) bodies of work simultaneously. Each one starts as one breaks off from another, or conjoin where bodies meet. I work 'round the studio—as in a kitchen—tending each pot, cutting board, and dish. All bodies of work remain open until the end of me." Sheila Pepe

Pepe is best known for crocheting large-scale, ephemeral installations and sculpture made from domestic and industrial materials. However, the traveling exhibition "Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism," curated by Gilbert Vicario for the Phoenix Museum of Art in 2017, and the catalogue published with it, shows that Pepe has built a more expansive and complex way of working since her start in the mid-1980s. For more than 30 years she has accumulated a "Family Resemblance"* of works in sculpture—installation—drawing, in both singular and hybrid forms. Some are drawings that are sculpture; or sculpture that is furniture; fiber works that appear as paintings; and table top objects that look like models for monuments or stand as votives for a secular religion. The entwined cultural references and meanings are drawn from canonical arts of the 20th century, home crafts, lesbian, queer and feminist aesthetics, Second Vatican Council American design, an array of Roman Catholic sources and their ancient precedents. The longstanding conceptual pursuit of Pepe's making, teaching, research, and writing is to contest received knowledge, opinions and taste.

Her work has been featured in many print and online publications including: Vitamin T: Threads and Textiles and the revised Art and Queer Culture by Catherine Lord and Richard Meyer (both Phaidon) and Feminist Subjectivities in Fiber Art and Craft: Shadows of Affectby John Corso Esqivel (Taylor/Francis), as well as the forthcoming catalogue for  "My Neighbor's Garden," commissioned by the Madison Square Park Conservatory and currently on view until Dec 10, 2023. Related press includes the NY Times, a conversation on WNYC, and an interview in the September issue of The Brooklyn Rail. 

Pepe's work is also in the collection of The Phoenix Museum of Art, DesMoines Art Center, Harvard University Museums, the Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Everson Museum, Syracuse, and the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University.