No Endpoint For The Stubborn
No Endpoint For The Stubborn, a new exhibit by Kate Horvat, Kansas City artist, commemorates the recent 100-year anniversary of the ratification of women’s right to vote while pointing to the reality that the fight for equal rights continues today in the interconnected civil rights and feminist movements.
The Mulvane Art Museum, Topeka, Kan., invited Horvat to create work in response to the national suffrage movement and women’s rights. Works will be on view at the museum through December 2021. The art museum is located on the campus of Washburn University.
Horvat’s exhibit includes four large banners depicting women of historical significance and 60 pennants with quotes and images selected from feminist writing, calls to action and other printed items. Varied shades of yellow – the color of the women’s suffrage movement – permeate the pieces.
“For this work, I collected mass-produced digital and physical ephemera as a way to archive and reinterpret feminist collective action, events and social change,” Horvat says. Under the subtitle Motionless From Above, 2021, the banners portray individual images of four historically significant women: Fannie Lou Hamer, Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem and Malala Yousafzai.
Horvat reinterpreted and tightly cropped four photos into banner-sized drawings in which each woman holds a microphone and speaks at an event. The artist used “dithering” to achieve her desired effect. This processing technique produces random dot patterns in an image.
“Dithered images are imperceptible and formless up close, but they can be distinguished when viewed from further back,” she explains. “Each dot depends on the other in a type of cooperative independence.”
Akin to the role of these individual dots, Horvat created the pennants to function interdependently with one another and with the banners. Screen printed on fabric, the pennants feature quotes, images or other items. Horvat named this section of the exhibit As If They Were Equals, 2021.
“Removed from their original contexts and placed together – among one another – this art takes on new and changing interpretations,” the artist adds.
Connie Gibbons, director, Mulvane Art Museum, calls Horvat’s work insightful and provocative. Gibbons observes, “Kate invites and challenges us to look through the lens of history, consider ways that stories get retold and overwritten, and believe in and work for the possibility of change.”
Rebecca Manning, who curated the exhibit, says, “I approached Horvat about this project because of her demonstrated ability to generate visually complex and multivalent work that critically engages popular culture and politics. Here, her dithered portraits and collective calls to action culminate in a visual installation thrumming with diverse voices and perspectives. She threads the history of women’s suffrage through to the present day in a manner marked with poignant relevancy. From the imperceptible and formless, Horvat affords the viewer luminous clarity: the realization that there is still much work to do.”
Horvat is art program director and instructor of art at the University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth, Kan. She earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, Mo., and a master’s in fine arts from Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz. Horvat was awarded the Artist’s Book Residency Grant that she completed through the Women’s Studio Workshop, Rosendale, N.Y. She is a lifelong resident of Kansas City, Kan.
Horvat will give a virtual artist talk on Thursday, Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. Registration and other details will be available at mulvaneartmuseum.org. Also featured in the Mulvane’s other main level gallery is a companion exhibit titled Radical Women: Stories of Suffrage in the Sunflower State. Admission to the art museum is free.
Tuesdays 12 to 7
Wednesdays 12 to 5
Thursdays 12 to 5
Fridays 12 to 5