A blue ribbon twists around the walls of the gallery, mirroring the convoluted yet organized mountain of rope in the center of the room.
This blue ribbon and rope mountain are the two opening pieces in the Museum of Art’s “Work to Do” exhibit, featuring artists Pam Bowman, Amy Jorgensen, Jann Haworth and Trent Alvey. The exhibit focuses on the contemporary woman, specifically in Utah, and the challenges she faces on a day-to-day basis.
Pam Bowman, the creator of the two opening pieces, has lived in Utah for 16 years and received her MFA in 2005 after being a stay-at-home mom for most of her life.
“You can think of the string as the individual acts,” Bowman said of her main piece, “Becoming.” “There are a lot of things in life that we do that are particularly repetitive, (like) taking care of children … They might seem insignificant, but over time they create something bigger.”
Bowman said although the daily grind can be monotonous, it can teach valuable lessons to those who listen.
“I do think that that strength and that willingness to balance life comes through all four of us (artists),” Bowman said. “You have to have a balance. I think all of us have experienced that.”
Michael McCune, a 24-year-old sociology senior from Omaha, Neb., gave his own perspective on the exhibit.
“What (the exhibit) tries to prove is that the role of women is more complicated today,” McCune said. “There are diverse challenges, and we should be aware that the world is changing.”
Jann Haworth, another artist in the exhibit, had to learn about balancing her life quickly when she shifted from being a major ’60s pop artist in London, to leading a family life out in the countryside. She dealt with the sudden change by continuing her work, albeit in smaller portions.
“I think (smaller portions) do characterize women’s art and women’s tasks,” Haworth said. “You do additive, small bits of things. … I can have a piece on the go, and it is rumbling in my head so I can then come back to it and say, ‘No, it’s not working.’ It is that thing, to double-task.
“I think the show does a good job saying each of us comes from very different backgrounds and had very different struggles to get to the show at BYU, but there we are,” Haworth added. “That is to be celebrated.”