Portraits was an exhibition of sculpture and collage of everyday women reimagined in new, elevated, and sacred roles by Sarah Simmons. We tend to not notice women as their full person, relegating them to stereotypes and roles as mother, crone, or maiden. Simmons reuses text and garments to tell complicated stories of women, their words, their behavior, and their bodies. From beauty expectations to skill assumptions, her sculptures document perceptions and misconceptions women are subjected to in everyday life at home, at work, and in public spaces.
Simmons gives new agency and power to discarded items. She recycles them into new relevance as seen in the ten sculptures and their respective collage portraits included in this collection. This collection was created between 2016 and 2023.
About the artist:
Sarah Simmons is a text based conceptual artist and literacy educator. Her artwork realizes and releases the untapped potential of objects, materials, and women by challenging their traditionally assigned purposes and roles. Rather than accept an object for its assumed purpose and discarding it when it is no longer useful, she challenges the viewer to see materials and people as more.
Sarah holds an Associate of Arts in studio art from Montgomery College in Maryland and a BFA with a concentration in metalsmithing and art education from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
Sarah is a member of Pittsburgh Society of Sculptors and Associated Artists of Pittsburgh. She has participated in exhibits with both organizations and also in exhibitions at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, The Brewhouse, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Annemarie Sculpture Center, as well as a part of the Anthropology of Motherhood. Her first solo exhibit was fittingly at Sewickley Public Library in 2014.
Sarah currently lives and works in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, where since 2016 she has grown her Bookgarden, a place where discarded books go to celebrate aging and experience unexpected self-transformation. She works at Moon Township Public Library as a children’s library assistant and resident artist, always finding too many books to read. Sarah is also a certified Orton Gillingham tutor who teaches dyslexic children to read and hopefully love books. She believes that words matter, how we communicate matters, and that literacy is a basic human right.