Filling. Batting. Liner. Wadding. Padding. Bushing. Swaddle.

There are many ways to name the material that brings life to a blanket or fills a comfortable seat. Typically internal but suggesting presence via thickness, its practical function belies its generative nature.

In the hands of this group of artists, the thing inside expands outward and into the aesthetic and political concerns characterizing contemporary visual art production. A quilt reflects the collision of painting and technology. Portraits of people and charismatic objects emerge from padded surfaces. Wool gives shape to imaginative reflections on identity. The curve of an unstructured edge conjures architecture.

This exhibition examines the volumes that swell and the possibilities presented within those distensions. Though reflecting movements associated with soft sculpture, craft, quilting, and other pliable materials similarly historicized, the artists presented here make in ways that defy category. Encouraging new ways for art to exist in space, STUFFED makes room for softness to stretch beyond neutral material.

Artists include:
Khadija Aziz
Natalie Baxter
Amelia Briggs
Maria A. Guzmán Capron
L’Merchie Frazier
Jai Hart
BSisters Khaleghi
Anne Libby
Meg Lipke
Elizabeth Murray
Rose Nestler
Courtney Stock
Nastassja E. Swift

Together, these thirteen artists survey the use of stuffing as a way to embrace new approaches to personal and communal experiences. STUFFED presents these artists together for the first time.

Events:
July 11th, 6-8 pm: Courtney Stock x Samantha Fields x Cloth Collaborative Soft Sculpture Workshop

STUFFED is the third independent curatorial collaboration between friends and colleagues Mallory A. Ruymann and Leah Triplett Harrington. Their partnership is grounded in an interest in global contemporary artists working with materials associated with craft. They seek to generate scholarly exhibitions that simultaneously uplift the artists they present, expanding critical dialogue on underrepresented practices in art history. They are eager to support women-identifying and gender-queer artists at every stage of their careers. Their joint exhibition history includes shape_shifting_support_systems, Praise Shadows, Boston, MA (2022), and A Romance Of…, Abigail Ogilvy Gallery, Boston, MA (2023).

Mallory A. Ruymann is a curator, art advisor, and art historian working with emerging artists in all media. She is the Managing Partner of art_works, an art advisory partnering with individuals and companies across the United States and Canada to build significant collections of contemporary art through a mission-driven lens. Among other institutions, she has previously worked at Tufts University Art Galleries, MassArt Art Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, and Fabric Workshop and Museum. Her writing can be found in academic journals and community publications, including Boston Art Review.

Leah Triplett Harrington is a curator, writer, and editor currently serving as the Director of Exhibitions and Contemporary Curatorial Initiatives at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art (PAFA). Previously she was a curator at Now + There, where she facilitated the Public Art Accelerator and organized large-scale public art commissions. She is also editor-at-large for Boston Art Review. Her writing has most recently appeared in that publication as well as ArtNet News, Sculpture, Public Art Dialogue, Flash Art, Hyperallergic, The Brooklyn Rail, and others. As an independent curator, she has organized projects for Boston University Art Galleries, Trestle Gallery, and Herter Gallery. In 2021, she was the inaugural curatorial mentor for Praise Shadows Art Gallery, and in 2022–23, she taught at Boston University.

Substack review by Cate McQuaid
Boston Globe
Boston Uncovered
Boston Art Review