photos: Carol Taylor-Kearney

Ruth Wolf’s installation entitled "NAMES" introduces the 72 Virgins.

“Who are these women?“  

"The 72 Virgins"-- objects of femininity perceived as naïve, have been eroticized and marked as rewards. This installation changes their status from a conjoined group into authentic individuals with singular identities, names and stories.

The installation consists of the 72 portraits on canvas. Like an archival portrait gallery that gives a family history, this portrait gallery presents women who share an essence and who share a spirit and in doing so form a family of their own.

“NAMES” addresses gender politics as it concerns education, equal pay, and healthcare. Women’s issues from events as diverse as the Taliban attack on Malala Yousafzai and the abduction of school girls in Nigeria to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act  and Sheryl Sandberg's book “Lean In” bring focus to women’s need to take leadership roles in society.

Wolf chose “the 72 Virgins” as her vehicle to explore and discuss this concept.

Wolf says - As an artist working today, this is my response to intolerance.  I feel  it is necessary to speak  about the world I live in, to put a focus on what art can say and help others see alternatives. My intent is to educate, challenge and inspire.

Project Description

Each portrait is on a stretched canvas, 16” x 20”, the standard portrait size but positioned as a landscape, as an expansive environment.

I have explored various painting styles, materials and techniques to support the concept of individuality - defining and redefining painting.

The original group of 72 portraits was formatted in a grid of 4 rows of 18 panels, as presented in the enclosed image.

For the Art Lab space I would like to hang the panels end to end, simulating a “round robin” discussion.

The installation would also include “The Virgin’s Green Box”. (Inspired by Marcel Duchamp's Green Box "la mariee mise a nu par ses celibataires, meme".)

It contains small personal items that define “woman“, everywhere.

Computer generated grid of 72, 16” x 20” portraits 

(total dimension 64” x 360”), mixed media