Bren Ahearn
Thread of Masculinity
pink_break_flower

Artist Statement

I use textile crafts to explore masculinity’s conflicting messages, and I typically use the cross stitch ABC sampler form to document how I’ve been educated to be a man in US society and to document memories. More recently, in my samplers I have been exploring my work history and have been recalling actual experiences when I exhibited risky behavior -- I document a violent parallel history in which I was not so lucky. Finally, my active shooter pieces (“run,” “hide,” “fight” in different fonts) are my next generation samplers. I worked in educational institutions, in which we were trained on how to respond to active shooter situations, and these pieces document my ongoing education.

 

CV

  • Solo Exhibits
    • Strategies for Survival. Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA, USA, June 10, 2016-January 15, 2017.
    • Black and Blue. Sacramento Temporary Contemporary Gallery, Sacramento, CA, USA, September 12-29, 2013.
    • An Early Sampling. Alumni Hall Gallery, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA, February 1-August 1, 2013. Curators: Sharon Bliss and Mark Johnson.
    • Thread of Masculinity, v. 2.0. Ridley Gallery, Sierra College, Rocklin, CA, USA, October 17-November 4, 2011. Curators: James Devore and Johnnie Terry.
    • Manmade. Evolve the Gallery, Sacramento, CA, USA, June 9-25, 2011 (extended to July 9, 2011). Curators: Brady and Michelle Blakeley.
  • Select Interviews
  • Select Reviews of Shows and Work (Contact me for a full list)
  • Select Press (Contact me for a full list)
    • Kost, R. "Queer art exhibition explores shaping force of 'A History of Violence.'" San Francisco Chronicle, June 12, 2018.
    • Le, A.-M. "'It's Our Way of Resisting': An unlikely South Bay museum taps into a wellspring of pain over gun violence." San Francisco Magazine, April 2018, pp. 30-31.
    • Blume, L.B. and Weatherston, R. "Queering the Campus Gender Landscape Through Visual Arts Praxis." In Mapping Queer Space(s) of Praxis and Pedagogy, Queer Studies and Education (McNeil, E. et al., eds.), 2018, pp. 71-103.
    • Hochberger, C. "7 Artworks Taking a Stance on Gun Violence." Artspace, December 4, 2017.
    • Sinner, L. "On Display: Bren Ahearn: Strategies for Survival." Surface Design Journal, Vol. 40(2), Summer 2016, p. 68.
    • "Datebook: Bren Ahearn's Work on Gender and Masculinity at Bellevue Arts Museum, Washington" on Blouin ArtInfo, September 5, 2016.
    • Musterman, B. "Bren Ahearn: Strategies for Survival." Let's Talk Art with Brooke Podcast, September 1, 2016.
    • "Shows to See." American Craft, August/September 2016. Vol 76(4), pp. 16-17.
    • "The Week in Craft: July 20, 2016." American Craft Council, July 20, 2016.
    • "Boundary-Breaking Exhibits Come to BAM." 425 Magazine, July 2016, p. 34.
    • Murray, R. "Bellevue Arts Museum Exhibit Explores Gender Roles, Homophobia and Violence." Eastside Scene, June 24, 2016, pp.9, 12.
    • "Emotionally charged, tongue-in-cheek samplers by Bren Ahearn at Belleveue Arts Museum" on ArtDaily, June 11, 2016.
    • Seattle Met Staff. "The Top Things to Do This Weekend: June 9-12." Seattle Met, June 9, 2016.
    • Men Can Make Kickass Fiber Art Too!, 2015 (zine in conjunction with Feminist Fiber Art exhibit in Boston, MA, USA, 2015).
    • Nath, G. "Men who picked up the needle." Deccan Herald, September 20, 2015.
    • "Online inspiration." Down Under Textiles, Issue 17, 2015, p. 76.
    • Swinkels, D. "Sign@lement." Textiel Plus, 2013.
    • Design Showcase 2011: Armchair Quarterback by Doug Brown and Bren Ahearn." Apartment Therapy, September 23, 2011.
    • "Current & Coming." Fiberarts, Summer 2011, p. 54.
    • University of Minnesota Digital Content Library (ID numbers: AR002599, AR002600), 2009-present.
    • Williams College Women's and Gender Studies Department, August 15, 2008-2014.
    • "Gallery." American Craft, August/September 2007, p. 73.
    • Brackmann, H., The Surface Designer's Handbook: Dyeing, Printing, Painting, and Creating Resists on Fabric. Loveland, CO; Interweave Press, 2006, pp 44, 99.
  • Select Presentations/Panels (Contact me for a full list)
    • Bren Ahearn: 1964-2020. Desert Weavers and Spinners, September 23, 2020.
    • Art Speaks: Pride Virtual Panel. Textile Center, Minneapolis, MN, July 23, 2020.
    • Armed Disposal Show Virtual Walkthrough with Exhibition Curators and Women of Culture. Victori + Mo, New York, NY, USA, June 3, 2020.
    • Description of Pieces in Armed Disposal Show. Victori + Mo, New York, NY, USA, May 28, 2020.
    • Artists' Talk: Our Thoughts and Prayers are with You. Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, Carmel, CA, USA, October 5, 2019.
    • Artist Talk: Bren Ahearn. Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA, USA, November 4, 2016.
    • Tour + Talk: Bren Ahearn. Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA, USA, June 11, 2016.
    • Beyond the Surface Show Walkthrough. San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, San Jose, CA, USA, January 10, 2016.
    • Queering our World Artists Panel, in conjunction with affiliated Queering our World Conference. Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA, USA, November 7, 2015.
    • OUT/Break Show Walkthrough. Montgomery College, Rockville, MD, USA, March 3, 2015.
    • LGBT Art: Our Common Wealth Show Walkthrough. Commonwealth Club, San Francisco, CA, USA, July 29, 2014.
    • Crafty Queers, v 4.0. Sierra College, Rocklin, CA, USA, November 7, 2013.
    • Men's Work Show Artists Panel. Box Factory, San Francisco, CA, USA, November 6, 2011. Moderator: Tina Takemoto.
    • State Of Community - Art, Politics & Community Panel. Underground Books, Sacramento, CA, USA, September 26, 2011.
    • Manmade Show Walkthrough. Evolve the Gallery, Sacramento, CA, USA, June 11, 2011.
    • Emerging Artists. Panelist, Reinvention Conference sponsored by Studio Art Quilts Associates and Surface Design Association, San Francisco, CA, USA, March 20, 2010. Moderator: Vic De La Rosa.
  • Select Group Exhibits (Contact me for a full list)
    • Uncertain Times. La Quinta Museum, La Quinta, CA, USA (ongoing virtual exhibit from September 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Curator: Sharla Fox. (Here is a link to a video about my work.)
    • PRIDE. Textile Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA, July 7-September, 2020. Curator: Tracy Krumm. (Here is a link to the virtual show.)
    • Armed Disposal. Victori and Mo, New York, NY, USA, May 7-August 1, 2020. Curators: Celine Mo and Katrina Majkut. (Here is a link to the virtual show.)
    • The Power of Words. Coachella Valley Art Center, Indio, CA, USA, March 13-April 10, 2020. Curator: Bill Schinsky.
    • Our Thoughts and Prayers are with You. Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, Carmel, CA, USA, October 4-November 16, 2019. Curator: Jan Wurm.
    • A History of Violence. SOMArts, San Francisco, CA, USA, June 7-29, 2018. Curator: Rudy Lemcke.
    • Guns: Loaded Conversations. San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, San Jose, USA, April 22-July 15, 2018. Curator: Amy DiPlacido.
    • Feminist Fiber Art Traveling Exhibit. Virago Gallery, Seatle, WA, USA, April 1-30, 2017. Curator: Iris Nectar.
    • Social Fabric/Moral Fiber. Gallery West, Grant Campus of Suffolk County Community College, Brentwood, NY, USA, February 14-March 30, 2017. Curators: Leila Daw and Michaelann Tostanoski (catalog: pp. 4, 6).
    • (De) Constructing Identity. Greenly Gallery, Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA, USA, November 4-December 5, 2016. Curator: David Kube.
    • QIY (Queer-It-Yourself) Expo and Faire. SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA, USA, June 5-24, 2016.
    • Beyond the Surface. San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, San Jose, CA, USA, January 6-February 28, 2016. Curator: Deborah Corsini.
    • Queering our World. Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA, USA, October 6-November 6, 2015. Curator: Dave Kube.
    • Terra Infirma: All Things Unsettled. GearBox Gallery, Oakland, CA, USA, July 30-August 22, 2015. Curator: Chandra Cerrito.
    • 10th Annual Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show. Grunwald Gallery of Art, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA. May 15-July 11, 2015. Jurors: Catherine Johnson-Roehr, Garry Milius, Betsy Stirratt, Jeremy Sweet.
    • OUT/Break. Sarah Silberman Art Gallery, Montgomery College, Rockville, MD, USA, March 3-April 3, 2015. Curators: Robin Meyer and Molly Nuzzo.
    • Needle's Eye. Contemporary Embroidery. National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway, February 21, 2015-May 16, 2015. Curators: Anne Kjellberg (Oslo), Knut Bull (Oslo).
    • Needle's Eye. Contemporary Embroidery. Kode, Art Museums of Bergen, Bergen Norway, October 10, 2014-January 4, 2015. Curators: Frode Sanvik (Bergen), Anne Britt Ylvisaaker (Bergen) (catalog: pp. 48-49).
    • Manly Men, Girly Girls and Everybody in Between: Expressions of the Sex/Gender Continuum in the Arts. Northern Illinois University Art Museum, DeKalb, IL, USA, August 26-November 15, 2014. Curators: Josephine Burke, Heather Green, Peter Olson.
    • LGBT Art: Our Common Wealth. Commonwealth Club, San Francisco, CA, USA, July 23-September 19, 2014. Curator: Pamela Peniston.
    • Scythia 10. Local Lore Museum, Kherson, Ukraine, June 18-28, 2014. Curators: Ludmila Egorova and Andrew Schneider (catalog: p. 10).
    • Fibremen 3. Local Lore Museum, Kherson, Ukraine, October 23-November 5, 2013. Curator: Ludmila Egorova (catalog: pp. 6-9).
    • Strange Bedfellows. Root Division, San Francisco, CA, USA. June 5-29, 2013. Curator: Amy Cancelmo (catalog: pp. 2-3).
    • Zeitgeist. SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA, USA. June 1-30, 2013. Curators: Jacqueline Francis, Josh Faught, Jordy Jones, Rudy Lemcke, Matt McKinley, Pam Peniston, Tina Takemoto.
    • Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show 2013. Grunwald Gallery of Art, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA. May 17-July 13, 2013. Jurors: Nan Brewer, Catherine Johnson-Roehr, Betsy Stirratt.
    • Crocker-Kingsley. Blue Line Gallery, Roseville, CA, USA. November 17, 2012-January 5, 2013. Curator: Michael Duncan.
    • The End. Tangent Gallery, Sacramento, CA, USA. July 14-July 28, 2012. Curators: Gioia Fonda and Ianna Frisby.
    • Pop-up Museum of Queer History – Philadelphia. William Way Community Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA, April 21-May 19, 2012. Curators: Buzz Slutzky et al.
    • Behind the Mask: Women, Men & Masculinities. Loranger Art and Architecture Center, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI, USA and LeBel Art Gallery, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada. February 27-March 10, 2012. Curators: Libby Balter Blume, Ph.D., C.F.L.E. and Allegra Pitera.
    • EMERGE: The Next Generation of Masters. Evolve the Gallery, Sacramento, CA, USA, November 11-28, 2010. Curators: Brady and Michelle Blakeley.
    • From the Tongue. Lotus Salon/34 North Moore Exhibition Space, New York, NY, USA, June 24-August 6, 2010. Curator: Joetta Maue.
    • Drawing in Thread: Contemporary Embroidery. The Gallery at Mt. Ida College, Newton, MA, USA, March 30-May 2, 2010. Curators: Kathleen Driscoll, John Tricomi (catalog: p. 3).
    • Birmingham Queer Open, Birmingham, England, November 3-6, 2009. Curators: David Viney et al.
    • Design Shibori, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, France, October 27-November 8, 2008 (catalog: pp. 22-23).
    • Immediate Future: The 2008 Murphy & Cadogan Fellowships in the Fine Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco, CA, USA, September 6-October 18, 2008. Curators: Dana Hemenway and Meg Shiffler.
    • The Fabric of Cultures: Fashion, Identity, Globalization, Museum of Craft and Folk Art, San Francisco, CA, USA, February 15-April 27, 2008. Curator: Amy Winter, Ph.D.
    • Handymen and Girly Boys: Masculinity, Craft, and Culture, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, USA, April 27-August 18, 2007. Curator: Maria Buszek.
    • Nancy Boy, Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA, USA, January 25-March 20, 2005. Curator: Nancy Mizuno Elliott.
  • Awards
    • First Place Award for Sampler #11, Politically Charged Show, 2014. Curator: Shelly Willis, Director, Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.
    • SFSU Graduate Student Award for Distinguished Achievement, 2010.
    • Leo D. Stillwell Award, 2009.
    • Murphy & Cadogan Fellowship in the Fine Arts (Sponsor: San Francisco Foundation), 2008.
    • CNCH Scholarship, 2005.
  • Education
    • San Francisco State University (SFSU), San Francisco, CA, USA Master of Fine Arts in Textiles, 2010
    • Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, CA, USA Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, 1991
    • University of Pennsylvania Wharton School and College of Arts and Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, USA Bachelor of Science in Economics and Bachelor of Arts in English, 1986