A Beauteous Tree: Margaret Fuller's Femality
The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art and the UNLV Jean Nidetch CARE Center are proud to present A Beauteous Tree: Margaret Fuller’s Femality. Curated by Jenessa Kenway, a doctoral candidate in literature at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, this exhibition illuminates the under-studied nineteenth-century author Margaret Fuller’s concept of “femality” by pairing artworks from the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art’s permanent collection with quotes from Fuller and other feminist writers. A Beauteous Tree includes work by Las Vegas artist Lolita Develay, along with a series of contemporary artists’ self-portraits inspired by Fuller’s writings. Visitors will be able to take part in an interactive activity that invites them to explore Fuller’s expansive ideas about gender by visualizing themselves as trees.
Local artists have been commissioned to create tree self-portraits to probe ideas that Fuller explores in her 1841 short story, The Magnolia of Lake Pontchartrain. Here, tree imagery displaces traditional gender binaries and instead constructs identity from leaves, flowers, fruit, and branches. Visitors are invited to submit tree-portraits of their own, either digitally or in person at the Museum. The portraits will be compiled into a free virtual catalog - a “forest” family album that tells local stories of identity and transformation.
Kenway says, “The focal point of trees reflects upon gender, but also visually manifests new growth and the period of renewal occurring within our community, coinciding with springtime and feelings of hope as COVID-19 vaccinations become increasingly available. A Beauteous Tree is an opportunity to share positive gender representation and grow together as a community after the long winter of the pandemic lockdown.”
Beauteous Tree features artwork by Lolita Develay, James Gobel, Mary Cady Johnson, Holly Lay, Eric LoPresti, Zully Mejia, Amadeo Modigliani, Harold Paris, JK Russ, Lance L. Smith, Xiaomeng Tang, and Mary Warner.
A Beauteous Tree: Margaret Fuller’s Femality runs from May 28 - July 24, 2021. Entry to the museum is free. Please see the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art website to read our safety guidelines and make a timed reservation before you visit.
Support for this exhibition is provided by the UNLV Jean Nidetch CARE Center, a Nevada Humanities Project Grant, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the WESTAF Regional Arts Resilience Fund, a relief grant developed in partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support arts organizations in the 13-state western region during the COVID-19 pandemic.