Sculpture Garden Installation: Mara Baker, A Mountain One Fence High—A Ribbon Two Yards Wide

Curated by RAC Freeark Gallery Director Claudine Isé

May 20 through mid-Summer 2018
Opening Reception Sunday, May 20, 3-6pm

Mara Baker, A Mountain One Fence High–A Ribbon Two Yards Wide, 2018, (detail). Found chain link fence, plastic fencing, flagging tape, found mesh produce sacks, rope, twine, aluminum wire and other studio debris.


The Riverside Art Center’s Freeark Gallery + Sculpture Garden will present a new, site-specific installation in our Sculpture Garden by Chicago-based artist Mara Baker, who says of her work: “The primary inspiration for my paintings, site-specific installations and animations comes from found materials and the recycled byproducts of my studio practice. I often work site-responsively in alternative raw spaces like repurposed factories and homes, treating the sites as an opportunity to engage with larger ecological issues of decay and life-cycles. My work also explores the interplay between the real and the representational, often using tactile materials that reference the language of formal painting.”

For RAC’s Sculpture Garden, Baker will create a new, site-specific piece titled A Mountain One Fence High— A Ribbon Two Yards Wide and inspired by the urban fences of Baker’s neighborhood in Avondale, which function in both geographic and psycho-geographic ways to divide, cage, catch, block and color-code the environment. Baker’s installation at RAC repurposes chain link fence found on Craigslist in nearby River Forest, deconstructing and then reconstructing the fence in ways that challenge our ideas and expectations of their role and purpose in our communities.

Women Painting Men

May 20 – June 23, 2018
Guest Curated by Gwendolyn Zabicki

Opening Reception: Sunday, May 20, 3-6pm

Featuring paintings by Karen Azarnia, Mel Cook, Katie Hammond (Halton), Jessica Stanfill, Celeste Rapone, and Gwendolyn Zabicki.

“Women Painting Men” is a group exhibition featuring the work of six female painters.

In this show, we see portrayals of men that run from sexual to sympathetic to sentimental. This exhibition asks viewers to consider: is the female gaze simply a reversal of the male gaze–that is to say, men rendered as sexual objects for the viewer’s pleasure; or is the female gaze best understood as a new generation of women learning to look at themselves and others in a new way?

Laura Mulvey coined the term “the male gaze” in her 1975 essay, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” In the essay, she states that the female gaze is women looking at themselves through the eyes of men. More than 40 years have passed since Mulvey wrote her still powerful essay. Do alternative modes of seeing and representation exist in the world, or are artists and viewers alike still trapped in a binary of active and passive?