O'Born Contemporary



Jill Greenberg, Solo Exhibition

January 31 – March 15, 2014

Opening Reception: Friday, January 31, 6 – 9 PM

View Works From Artist Catalogue



In creating Jill Greenberg: Horse, the artist returns to her original muse. A perennial obsession now shared with her young daughter, the horse began to ignite in the artist consideration of how the bit, halter, and bridle are used to harness and control these animals. Having found scholarly literature comparing the way horses function in society to the means through which women have historically been oppressed, the "scold's bridle," a medieval punishment for mouthy women, became a point of intrigue and commonality. Beyond the tension captured between majesty and restraint in the photographs presented here, the artist articulates the narrative of paradoxical power and limitation through a sculptural maquette, entitled "The Collision of Emily Wilding Davison". Imbued with the spirit of the feminist imperative, this female historical figure is depicted in her final moments-interrupting an Epsom Derby race in 1913 in order to pin a suffragist flag upon King George V's horse.

In depicting these animals while alluding to pivotal historical moments, Greenberg continually addresses issues of sexuality, vacillating between highlighting the horse's masculinity and femininity. Phallic necks and muscles are, in the end, balanced out with soft, pastel colors and tones.

about the artist

Since the age of 10, Jill Greenberg has staged photographs and created characters using the mediums of drawing, painting, sculpture, film and photography. She is known worldwide for her uniquely human animal portraits, which intentionally anthropomorphize her subjects, as well as her infamous series, "End Times" which struck a nerve in its exploration of religious, political, and environmental themes exploiting the raw emotion of toddlers in distress. Her newest work marks a return to the postmodern feminist theory that inspired her senior thesis, "The Female Object" as an art student at RISD in the 80's: "The disciplinary project of femininity" and the predetermined failure of all women who attempt to "succeed" at it. As a working photographer she travails to straddle the line between assignment work and her own personal work. On one notable occasion, a conflict arose when she was assigned to photograph the Republican candidate for presidency in the summer 2008, at the height of his popularity; after delivering the assignment exactly as requested, she chose to speak out in the form of agit-prop outtakes on her own website, which she was legally allowed and morally compelled to do. The violent backlash from her political art has informed this return to the question of what is tolerated by women in our culture.