Magazine article Sculpture

Renee Magnanti

Magazine article Sculpture

Renee Magnanti

Article excerpt

NEW YORK

Art Mora

Renee Magnanti is a highly gifted artist who carves encaustic to reveal layers of wax, often with a brightly hued background. Her work relates to the women's decorative art movement, part of the feminist art drive of the 1970s and '80s, when she was recently out of art school. Her carvings frequently include phrases or sentences about women from the faraway textile cultures whose patterns she sometimes borrows. Inevitably, her work brings up the question of craft and the longclichéd debate over whether decorative art can be taken seriously. In addition, some mistrust remains about so-called "women's art," which is usually characterized as feminist or political. Magnanti's work makes no apologies for its assimilated influences, but the end result is as much a matter of aesthetics as partisan discussion.

It would be much easier to forego falsely complicated issues of categorization and simply look at what is in front of us. Magnanti's large Patchwork (2016), a complex encaustic carving dense with nine panels of patterns-and explanatory textsis a tour de force that transcends its origins in embellishment. The quiet submission, inevitably intricate, which argues for a feminine/feminist reading of product and intention, has implications and consequences in keeping with politicized art history. …

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