Trustman Art Gallery

The Scarlet Thread

Lauren Gillette

March 14 - April 13, 2017

Opening Reception:
Thursday, March 16, 5-7 P.M.

Simmons University presents a solo exhibition: The Scarlet Thread, a feminist alphabet in mixed media by Lauren Gillette from March 14 – April 13 at the Trustman Art Gallery, located on the fourth floor, Main College Building, 300 The Fenway in Boston.

A reception will be held on Thursday, March 16 from 5-7 P.M., with a snow date of March 23.

Lauren Gillette has fashioned an alphabet with multi-media narrative quilted panels of an alternate “herstory”. Women of doubtful reputation, such as Eva Peron or Helen of Troy’s biographies are upended from their traditional telling. The irreverence and seriousness of Gillette’s recasting of our collective mythological, fictional and lived history is her way of bearing witness to “the Hester Prynne drumbeat going on around me.”

Each narrative has a corresponding alphabet letter, Peron’s being N is Nouveau Riche (beats no riche at all) and like an identity mask, a black stripe across her eye reads Blonde Ambition. Gillette doesn’t stop there; the headlines are followed by a bio that doesn’t pull punches. The drawings of each subject capture the essence of the narrative she gives us. The whole of the text in drawings is set within borders of red and black quilting fabric—framing the subject. Peron’s framing is tilted at an angle, not square to the larger fabric support. At every juncture Gillette asks the viewer to think about convention.

As a conceptual artist, Gillette chooses fabric for her support of the text and drawings to solicit our desire to touch, while her notorious subjects and with their non-normative sexual antics and correspondent public shaming are anything but cozy quilts. The Scarlet Thread project was supported by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Artist Advancement Grant. Gillette’s other grants and exhibitions speak to her artistic engagement with, as she states—the “symbiotic relationship between public and private behavior, titillation and scorn, the judges and the judged.”

The Gallery continues its Lunchtime Lecture Series on Thursday, March 30 from noon -1:00 P.M. with Professor Suzanne Leonard, of the English Department, presenting Strange Bedfellows: Stigma, Adultery, and Tradition in “The Bridges of Madison County.”

Trustman Art Gallery hours are 10 AM – 4:30 PM, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, 10 AM – 7 PM on Wednesday and Thursday. The gallery is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. For more information, contact Kyle Mendelsohn at (617) 521-2268 or find us on Instagram.