About the Artist
Jane Weibel is an undergraduate student at CSULB’s School of Art’s Ceramics Program. Weibel is only one semester from receiving her BFA in ceramics. Interestingly, Weibel did not come into CSULB thinking that she would get a degree in ceramics. She began her undergraduate career as a biology major and soon enough realized that it just was not for her. She states that she has always been crafty and artistic, but that it was not until her first year of college when she realized that art was something she wanted to invest the majority of her time in.
The exhibition is a compilation of ceramic boulders placed over photographs of woman’s body parts. The boulders had realistic qualities to them, from the opaqueness of some and even the undulations and jaggedness. Furthermore, there was a uniqueness of shape and colors between all of the boulders. On the end of the gallery, there is a colorful cage made up of a variety of different patterns. Another portion of the exhibition included a pile of shredded colored paper put to the side of one wall.
Weibel used this exhibition as her first public statement about being a feminist. Although she usually oppressed her ideas, she knew that this was an incredible opportunity she could not pass up regarding introducing such a sensitive subject in such a vast platform. Weibel’s exhibition contained a lot of different ceramic pieces, but the idea stayed constant throughout. The majority of the exhibition were ceramic boulders and pieces placed over photographs of women. This symbolizes the pressure that women feel regarding conforming to social standards. There was another piece in the exhibition that was a photograph of women’s legs placed between ceramic fire and a “falling boulder”. This also symbolizes the feeling that women feel like any direction they go could lead to detrimental side effects. The cage, according to Weibel, symbolizes the imprisonment of women into stereotypes that are really hard for them to get out of. The shredded paper is a little more obscure and complex explained Weibel. The shredded paper is not what is the center of attention, rather it is the act of shredding that is important to consider. The purpose of shredding paper is usually to conceal someone’s personal information and obliterate that identity. She says that it resonates a lot with how women are feeling in this society. Society is shredding individuality of women and trying to make them conform into what is stereotyped for them. Overall, Weibel wanted to display the emotional pain that is caused by the societal expectation of women in a way that could be understood by anyone: physical pain. The boulders, fire, cage and even the idea of the shredding machine would evoke a feeling of pressure and pain in someone, regardless of gender.
As soon as I walked into the gallery, I knew exactly what the theme of the exhibition was. I did not need to read the explanation. As a female, this is such an important issue to myself as well and I automatically understood what each aspect of the exhibition was trying to portray. Coming from a Hispanic heritage, I feel the pressures of social norms and women stereotypes quite strongly. There is a whole list of activities and stereotypes that Hispanic women needs to “conform” by. As a younger generation latina, I deviate from these standards a lot and I feel the pressure and disapproval from family in Mexico. I think this exhibition was extremely successful in that it greatly simplifies such a complex issue. It captures the essence of feeling trapped between opressing oneself for the purpose of societal approval or standing up to them and for one’s own identity.