A poem by Ann Sexton lends its title and intellectual undercurrents to “Her Kind,” a group show on view at Sargent’s Daughters. In each of three stanzas, Sexton introduces a different female persona who somehow veers beyond palatable social constructs of womanhood. Wandering the streets like a “possessed witch,” one character becomes a “lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind. A woman like that is not a woman, quite.” Sexton reiterates at the end of each verse, “I have been her kind.”
Likewise, “Her Kind” as an exhibition brings together sculptures, assemblages, and drawings by seven artists that eschew conventional hallmarks of femininity without rejecting the notion of female identity outright. In works like Shinique Smith’s She waited secretly between shadow and soul (2021), the physical attributes look to be descendants of domesticized womanly shapes, as clothing, ribbon, and yarn form a bulbous mass suspended on a string pulled taut between ceiling and floor. Similarly, three pieces by the artist mujero repurpose the shredded remains of Jordan-brand sneakers into wall hangings that slouch into uterine configurations.
A high-relief collage by Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya features a single Nike sandal among a litany of other found objects embedded into the canvas’s roiling blue surface. Hey you who gathers the stars, hey you who sliced the moon open, hey you who swallowed the sun (2021) also includes rabbit fur and horn tips alongside more detritus that the artist recovered from an illegal dumping ground in Juarez, Mexico. The resulting composition is distinctly vulva-like, in kind.
Amy Butowicz, Might and Main, 2021. Wood, plaster, canvas, foam, string, vinyl, organdy, knit fabric, 42 x 60 x 60 inches.