Support the Barn


Fri, November 4 '16



by Emily Oliveira

Emily Oliveira’s installation, Labor-In-Vain, is the setting for a series of embroidered pillows featuring women body builders. A brass hope chest, traditionally used to store domestic objects fabricated by women in anticipation of marriage, holds several pillows alongside other assemblages and altered objects. The installation draws parallels between the contents of a hope chest and votive or burial goods: when does the prospect of marriage become so unlikely that one transforms into the other? The work highlights the connection between the domestic labor of women’s crafts and the labor of women body builders. Labor-In-Vain touches upon the ways in which feminized labor is marginalized both when it aligns with the desires of men, and when it directly opposes and seeks to subvert those desires.

Emily Oliveira is a Brooklyn-based sculptor, performance artist, and designer. She uses materials associated with domestic arts and crafts, and materials which play with ideas of surface vs. materiality. Her sculptures mirror the scale and orientation of the type of secular and devotional knick-knacks/chucherías that middle and working-class women use to feminize and take ownership of domestic space. Her performances have been shown at Ars Nova, Judson Memorial Church, Grace Exhibition Space, Dixon Place, Good Work Gallery, Panoply Performance Lab, and The Silent Barn. She studied performance at Brown University and is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.