Solar Fast prints on vintage hankies and leaf assemblage by Elaine Luther. “Ghost Prints and Shadow Work,” show card for show by Elaine Luther, all artwork Copyright Elaine Luther 2022.

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll have a solo show at The Compassion Factory in Brookfield, IL, for the month of May and into June a bit. This show is part of the international Taking Up Space initiative, where galleries and alternative spaces are hosting shows of art by women and non-binary artists.  Exhibition design of this show is by artist and curator Betsy Zacsek.
Opening reception and artist talk on Friday, May 13.

Show Statement

How do you get people to appreciate the work you’re doing when they’re benefiting from your labor, yet not noticing that you’re doing it? Women’s work, their physical labor, emotional labor, often goes unpaid, underpaid, unnoticed and under-appreciated.

With this artwork, I try to get people to notice by making it beautiful, by drawing people in, to look more closely. I collect vintage, handmade doilies, in order to print them as photograms using light sensitive dye. Though most people think of lace and doilies as out of style and boring, once they’re transformed into blue and white, people find them captivating.

These are printed on vintage hankies, with themselves have crocheted edges, so the handwork of unknown women shows up again and again the work, layer upon layer. That the women are unknown, that their work was sold, cheaply, or given away, is another aspect that I’m commenting on in my work.

Beyond the blue and white, the show includes real, skeletonized leaves, which have been collaged with bits of handwritten letters received by the artist over the years. Fragments of conversation, of long ago gossip, are captured in these leaves. Letters, expressions of love and reports from back home, from those now dead, or contact lost, are all hinted at in bits and pieces on leaves. Sometimes these leaves come together in the form of butterflies. Leaves and butterflies fly across the gallery walls, sometimes singly, and sometimes coming together in larger works.

These text fragments on leaves are about former selves, old identities, and also symbolize family ties, relationships, and the emotional labor usually performed by women.

I most overtly address unpaid labor through a series of time cards, displayed along with a real, vintage time clock. There’s one collaged time card for each day of the week, each one representing a different category of work that women/mothers perform.

Taken all together, viewers take in the range of labor women perform to create a home life for others, raise children, keep connected with family near and far, all while maintaining her own friendships, interests and life. The hope is that by drawing people in with beauty and mystery, they will reflect on the issue of labor in their lives and the lives of those around them.

Opening Reception for Ghost Prints and Shadow Work, Solo Show by Elaine Luther

Friday, May 13, 2022
7-9 pm, with an artist’s talk at 7:30 pm.

Gallery Location and Information

The Compassion Factory Art Gallery and Studio,
A Community Project of Compassion United Methodist Church
9210 Broadway Ave.
Brookfield, IL. 60513

Gallery hours at The Compassion Factory

Thursday, May 12th 4-8pm
Friday, May 13th 7-9pm (artist talk)
Saturday, May 14th 10am-1pm
Thursday, May 19th 4-8pm
Saturday, May 21st 10am-1pm
Thursday, May 26th 4-8pm
Saturday, May 28th 10am-1pm
Thursday, June 2nd 4-8pm
Saturday, June 4th 10am-3pm

Art Activities for Kids and Adults

For kids, at the gallery, we have a make it and take activity, or they can post their art on the display wall (or make more than one).  The activity is doing rubbings with special rubbing crayons using a variety of plates with textures on them.  This relates to the work in the show because both are a type of monoprint.

Adults can join the project, “Clocking in for Unpaid Labor,” and make art on a time card, which will then be displayed on a gallery wall.  All the info. on that project is in this blog post.