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Raveling & Unraveling the Social Fabric : Works on Paper and Canvas by Janet Speier

Raveling & Unraveling the Social Fabric : Works on Paper and Canvas by Janet Speier

On Friday, September 14 the Cincinnati Arts Association’s Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts will premier two new exhibitions linked by personal observations of the urban environment: Reflections 1, a provocative installation evoking political and social issues within the urban environment culled from the memories and associations of Thomas Phelps, formed during his many years as a former resident of the West End of Cincinnati; and Raveling and Unraveling the Social Fabric, a mixed-media investigation of contemporary political and social issues by Cincinnati artist Janet Speier.

Janet Speier, also of Cincinnati, spent more than 25 years pursuing her artistic career in New York before returning to Cincinnati in 1993. Her extended stay outside of Cincinnati provided her with a fresh look at her hometown when she returned. During lengthy bus trips traveling to and from work she became immersed in and fascinated with the proliferation of store front churches prominent in the decaying urban core. These repeated sightings inspired her to document them, initially through photographs and later through abandoned Bibles stacked and interleafed with photographs.

In Raveling and Unraveling the Social Fabric, Speier expands upon earlier investigations into what she referred to as the "Bible belt culture" to broaden her observations of the cultural dichotomies of urban existence. Employing a variety of media including photography, collage, bookworks, altered maps, weavings and works on canvas, Speier’s work evokes issues of peace and conflict, geographical boundaries, freedoms and restraints and the everyday conflicts of contemporary urban life.