Since the late 1980s, New York-based artist Beverly Semmes has experimented across a wide variety of media - creating sculptures in fabric, clay and glass, producing drawings, photographs and prints while also experimenting in performance and video – all the while exploring the relationships between craft and fine art in relation to pleasure, gender and desire. Semmes’ idiosyncratic approach to complicated feminist content has always been lurking within her work – be they in her exaggerated dress forms, abstracted in order to speak to the body in excess, or more directly, as in the present work, which is urgent, direct and erotic.
The present work, Mouth (FRP Edition #1), is the first print edition related to Semmes' Feminist Responsibility Project series. Like a peephole distillation, the work is experienced as one erogenous detail – slightly parted glossy red lips protrude from a curtain-like form of brilliant red thread. Semmes’ urgent "re-drawing" of the appropriated pornographic image underneath with the addition of the digitally sewn rayon embroidery acts as a cover-up on top of other cover-ups and supplies a sensual pleasure of its own while relating back to the artist's roots in her fabric sculptures. Semmes' mixed motives, both formal and conceptual, appear as much to shield as to enhance what remains just out of reach.
This World House Editions print by Beverly Semmes was made in collaboration with Andre Ribuoli and Jennifer Mahlman-Ribuoli of Ribuoli Digital.