Debra Cartwright 

Barbara Ishikura

21 April – 21 May

Contained brings together artists Debra Cartwright and Barbara Ishikura for a two-person exhibition that explores the female body and female representation throughout history. Debra Cartwright examines the relationship between the black female body and American medical history, while Barbara Ishikura challenges the historically male gaze on the female nude by taking back ownership of the female figure in her artwork.

By placing the female figure at the center of their art, both artists highlight the complex and multifaceted experiences of being a woman throughout history.

Through their use of paint and mixed media, both Debra Cartwright and Barbara Ishikura explore themes of selfhood, intimacy, and myth creation. Their artwork offers a powerful reflection on the female experience and female role in art, history, and society.

Debra Cartwright’s artwork blends the history of Western gynecology with the representation of Black womanhood.

Barbara Ishikura’s artwork explores the ongoing conflict of adhering to social norms across different social classes. She uses portraiture to depict the humor and pathos of the human condition, particularly regarding the female body and its navigation of social spaces in contemporary society. Ishikura’s female figures are portrayed in classical art historical poses while drinking cheap beer, smoking cigarettes, and surrounded by working-class paraphernalia.

Together, Debra Cartwright and Barbara Ishikura’s artwork offers a thought-provoking exploration of the objectification of the female body by re-examining loaded histories and cultural hierarchies in contemporary society.

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