Phoenix Art Museum is organizing the first mid-career survey on the work of Sheila Pepe. For over twenty years, Pepe has constructed large-scale, ephemeral installations and sculpture made out of domestic and industrial fibrous materials. Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism examines how the artist often plays with feminist and craft traditions to counter patriarchal notions of recognized or accepted forms of art making. Because Pepe’s works are often site-dependent, there is a critical relationship to traditional boundaries of museum display that are essential to her sculptural practice. While personal and cultural narratives often play a vital role in Pepe’s artistic practice, her work is left open to multiple interpretations.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether or not you go, Shelia Pepe showcases Sheila Pepe’s range as an artist comfortable with both the everyday and also the extraordinary. Shoelaces, nautical ropes, bits of string. For two decades Sheila Pepe has been transforming these items into transcendent works that can fit on a lap or fill a room. Her versatility, humor, and feminist perspective are on brilliant display in this book that traces her development over the past twenty years. Essays look at how the artist plays with feminist and craft traditions to counter patriarchal notions, and the site-specific nature of her work. Arranged both chronologically and thematically, this lushly illustrated book focuses on an artist doing important work in the fields of queer theory, craft making, and personal geography.