Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe: Tabernacles for Trying Times

May 22, 2021–Feb 6, 2022

The first major museum survey of painter Carrie Moyer and sculptor Sheila Pepe, whose abstract works, rich with color and materiality, explore themes of craft, feminism, and queer activism. Highlighting the artists’ individual styles and techniques, collaborative works, and new directions, the exhibition presents their most ambitious collaboration to date. The impressively scaled Parlor for the People is a site-specific installation that reimagines the religious tradition of the tabernacle as a communal space open to all for the discussion of justice, equality, knowledge, and these “trying times.”

For Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe, the evolution of their artistic practices is inextricably linked to their twenty-five-year love story. A couple since 1998, they married in 2015. Over the decades, they have broken through homophobic and sexist barriers to build careers of international acclaim.  As a painter, Moyer developed a visual language that weaves together abstraction, bodily forms, and logo-like imagery. Pepe is best known for her use of industrial materials, which she knots, knits, and crochets into monumental structures. In the exhibition, individual works from over the last decade demonstrate how Moyer and Pepe have informed each other’s development while maintaining their distinct identities as artists, scholars, women, lesbians, and activists. The couple’s more recent collaborations represent an exciting new advancement for these two radical artists’ trajectories, as together they challenge our understanding of craft while expanding definitions of abstract painting.

Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe: Tabernacles for Trying Times is organized by the Portland Museum of Art, Maine and curated by Jaime DeSimone, Robert and Elizabeth Nanovic Curator of Contemporary Art. The presentation at the Museum of Arts and Design is managed by Alida Jekabson, Curatorial Assistant.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Full-color photographs, six essays, plus a lengthy interview illuminate the artists’ formal vision and personal histories.

A 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle inspired by Moyer's lush acrylic painting, Rosewater and Brimstone.

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