HOWW to BEHAAYV | Johanna Winters

HOWW to BEHAAYV | Johanna Winters

Soo VAC presents an exhibition exploring female aging through puppetry, video, puppetry and sculpture.

Johanna Winters explores “HOWW to BEHAAYV” in her new multi-media installation, that includes video, puppetry and sculpture. The aging female experience is an unheard account, particularly between the years marked by the gradual expiration of a woman’s biological relevance. Winters’ work is a dispatch of the anxieties she shares with women about the shame, disappointment, and pleasure of aging. It is a confrontation of the social conditioning that perpetuates the repression of female pleasure.

Through puppetry and video she bridges the genres of performance and visual art as a vehicle to express and give witness to the ways female desire is inhibited, sustained, and diminished over a lifetime. Using marionettes, shadow theatre, sound, and invented phonetics, this work reclaims expressions of female psychic pain and how it is perceived or nullified.

“In her text “On Longing”, Susan Stewart describes the grotesque mask or disguise as a display of “overturned hierarchy” in which the distance between the performer and observer is collapsed. A seductive energy flourishes in this truncated space where object becomes actor and audience is made complicit. Similarly, I engage with puppetry because it evokes a complex sense of familiarity – once animated, these extensions of the body elicit both sympathy and discomfort in their ability to mimic our humanness, and within this tension is the possibility for compelling performative storytelling.”

“HOWW TO BEHAAYV” considers the condition of a reticent protagonist in her middle years who is both suspicious of and excited by the possibility of being witnessed. Through video, performance, and installation, this character engages in private actions as a form of protection against self-pity, including a choreographed dance performed alongside invented companions. We glimpse the protagonist as she lingers between the painful awareness of her solitude and the pretend validation of her audience.

Virtual Artist Talk - Tuesday, May 4, 2021 AT 6 PM Soovac hosts artist Johanna Winters and curator Nicole Soukup in Conversation presented live via Zoom. RSVP on Facebook

About the Artist
Johanna Winters is a puppeteer and printmaker based in Kansas City, MO. She received her MFA from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and has been awarded residencies at the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, Poland, Guttenberg Arts, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Vermont Studio Center, ACRE, the Elizabeth Murray Artist Residency, and Yaddo. She was the 2018-19 Printmaking Artist in Resident at the Lawrence Arts Center. Prior to her artistic pursuits, Winters competed on an Olympic-development cross country ski team based in the Upper Midwest. Winters' recent work has been exhibited and performed nationally, including at the Open Eye Figure Theatre in Minneapolis, and Plug Projects in Kansas City, MO. She currently teaches at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Gallery Hours
Gallery hours are Saturday – Sunday 11am-4pm. Face masks and social distancing required. There will be no opening reception. 

This exhibition shows simultaneously with Chinese-ish | Anika Schneider.

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