SAN JUAN ISLANDS MUSEUM OF ART
DOMESTIC BLISS | recent works by Holly Ballard Martz
This year, 2020, marks the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, asserting women’s right to vote. Much progress has been made in the fight for women’s equality in the intervening years, and this is a milestone to be celebrated, yet we are far from a level playing field. It is estimated that it will take an additional two hundred years to eliminate the gender pay gap. Reproductive rights are in jeopardy, maternal mortality is on the rise, and globally 75% of unpaid work is done by women. This labor falls primarily within the domestic sphere. Domestic Bliss transforms objects associated with domestic labor, traditionally the purview of women, and supplants their original purpose and highlights obstacles which impede the quest for gender equality.
I spent weeks painstakingly bending hundreds of wire coat hangers into the likeness of the female reproductive system, an exercise in endurance for my hands and a representation of the slow and painful trudge towards full reproductive rights for women in America. I layered and stacked men’s detachable shirt collars as stand-ins for institutionalized sexism. Thousands of sequins have been affixed to forms typically used in the construction and pressing of garments, morphing them into glittering body parts and cuts of meat, as women’s bodies are often reduced to decoration and objects of desire. I deliberately chose to work with materials and processes long considered the female domain as a reminder that with every prick of the pin and curve of the wire, women’s work is truly never done.
This exhibition is sponsored by The Honeywell Charitable Fund, Kim Miller, San Juan County, Town of Friday Harbor, San Juan Island Community Foundation, Printonyx, Harbor Rentals and Browne’s Home Center.