Gendered embodiment has always been plastic: we adorn ourselves with piercings and tattoos; bind, confine, and refine our contours; and learn to move in and out of step with societal expectations.
The Women's and Gender Studies Program at Oakton, in cooperation with the college's Koehnline Museum of Art, tackles this subject during the free art show Bodies by Design: Modification, Coercion, and Resistance. This juried exhibit, featuring more than 60 women artists from around the country, opens Thursday, Oct. 3, at Oakton's art museum, 1600 E. Golf Road, Des Plaines.
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Today, consumer society places unprecedented pressure on women and men to conform, while the proliferation of subcultures allows for ever more outrageous inventions and expressions.
Bodies by Design features works by an eclectic array of women artists who are engaged with this issue, asking, "How do we survive and thrive in these extraordinary times?"
The public is invited to meet the artists at a gala reception with refreshments, 5-8 p.m., on opening night. Bodies by Design runs through Friday, Oct. 25.
"We are thrilled not only by the beauty of the works in this year's show, but also by their depth of content," said Kathleen Carot, Oakton's Women's and Gender Studies coordinator. "People who attend the show will not only find much to admire, but also will leave with a great deal to think about. This year's artists really outdid themselves."
The Koehnline Museum of Art is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information, visit www.oakton.edu/wgs or contact Kathleen Carot at (847) 376-7061.