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Tabitha Vevers: Narrative Bodies to Open at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park

LINCOLN, MA. Jason Edward Kaufman
Narrative Bodies is mid-career survey exhibition of the work of painter Tabitha Vevers that highlights the artist’s feminist engagement with tradition and myth. The exhibition will be on view at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park from January 24 through May 17, 2009.

Creating personal narratives that explore the female body and sexuality, Vevers uses old master techniques on an intimate scale to address socio-political issues that include war, AIDS, environmental degradation, the relationship of the sexes, and women’s historical positions in society. The artist was initially compelled to paint in the late 1970s by a “desire to take the female nude back from art history and portray her with the complexity of an individual woman’s perspective.”

Tabitha Vevers: Narrative Bodies will explore the development of the artist’s work through 60 paintings selected from her different series: Secular Icons, Flesh Memories, Shell Series, Women & Knives, Flying Dreams, Lover’s Eyes, and Eden Series. Using a variety of art historical sources as the springboard for her ideas, Vevers often links the form and materials of her art-making to her creation of meaning. In the Women & Knives series, for example, knives carved out of bone become the surface on which female perpetrators of violence throughout history are incised using the scrimshaw technique. And in the Shell series, the artist references a 12th century Japanese tradition of painting shells in her intimate paintings which explore the metaphorical embrace of human and sea life. In her most recent series, Eden (2006 – present), the artist grapples with gender, sexuality, and cloning and their often controversial role within science and religion.

Tabitha Vevers: Narrative Bodies is the third in a series of solo exhibitions curated at DeCordova of New England women artists. Funding has been generously provided by the Lois and Richard England Family Foundation, the Robert E. Davoli and Eileen McDonagh Charitable Foundation, and an anonymous donor. The exhibition will be accompanied a full-color catalogue with an essay by Director of Curatorial Affairs Rachel Rosenfield Lafo, curator of the exhibition. Tabitha Vevers divides her time between Cambridge and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and the exhibition will travel from DeCordova to the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in the summer of 2009.