The Cultivate Curatorial Board is excited to share the work of Geneva Hutchinson
Geneva shares her work and process in our interview below.
Learn more about the Cultivate Featured artist series below.
Learn more about Geneva on her:
Briefly describe your work or share your artist statement
My work is a response to my upbringing as a southern, Christian, pastor’s daughter. This work navigates the complexities of being raised within “purity culture,” healing from sexual trauma, and responding to spiritual and physical abuse within the church. Using the conceptual frameworks provided by trauma theorists and feminist artists, I am drawing attention to the abuse of power towards women within the church. Simultaneously, through creating the work, I seek healing and reclamation for myself and other women with this lived experience.
My work takes many forms, currently it exists as embroidery on found textiles and photographic collages. I use found fabrics as a way to reuse objects that have been discarded - as a way to reclaim the memories from past owners. I use embroidery as a traditional, gendered medium to pay homage to the many women who have gone before me.
How do you go about beginning a new piece? Do you have it planned or is it more spontaneous?
New pieces usually come to me as an abrupt vision - usually when I’m on a long road trip by myself or laying in bed late at night. My notes app on my phone is filled with fever dream ideas. When I start creating a piece, I always stray from the original vision and respond to the medium I’m working with and adjust the piece accordingly.
What is a barrier that you, as an artist, overcame?
I think I am still currently working through this - but realizing that I do not want to be put in a box as a “photographer”, “printmaker”, or any other label other than “artist”. I view conceptual art making as a problem-solving process and think that the conceptual idea should inform the material choice. Over the past few years I have drifted from my roots as a photographer and printmaker and made work in a huge variety of mediums because that’s what I felt my conceptual practice needed.
What is your go-to music when you're working on art?
I love to listen to badass female musicians while creating - and actually have a very specifically curated playlist for my studio days.
What do you strive for as an artist? What form of recognition is important for you?
I strive to enjoy making art and to share that joy with others. I strongly believe that art has the power to heal and create change through sparking conversations. I feel the most successful and recognized when a fellow survivor of assault can find even a moment of solace through my work. Art should be a sanctuary - a place of refuge and safety for those creating and viewing. I think we have really strayed from this by getting caught up in the constant criticism and I am striving to get back to the sanctuary of creating.
What advice would you share for artists? Share something that you have learned along the way.
Decide for yourself whose opinions and critiques you value and respect. For years I allowed negative critiques from professors and peers to deeply affect me before realizing that our artistic missions simply didn’t align. I now have a group of artists, friends, and professors whose opinions I truly value and allow to help me alter my artwork. For example, my best friend Matthew has seen me work as an artist for 7 years and knows my practice better than most. Matthew is incredibly brutally honest about my work but it’s because he has the best intentions for me and my art practice. Therefore, I really value his critiques and when he offers praise I know it’s genuine.
What is a work of art that is an inspiration to you?
In Mourning and in Rage(1977) by Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz is such a powerful and vulnerable performance. I always turn to feminist artists working in the 1970s when I need a boost of inspiration.
Who are three working artists that you love and would recommend?
A curated collection of emerging and mid-career artists. The featured artist program at Cultivate serves to share the artist's work and process with the community, inviting them to understand how and why an artist creates the work they do, to market and promote artists, and to connect artists to each other and to our network of curators, artists, and gallery owners.
These artists are curated together and represent the work that we exhibit at Cultivate. The artists are selected in January and June, and scheduled out for the six-month period. If you are interested in being one of Cultivate featured artists, please visit our open call for submissions.