Offsite Gallery December 1 – January 12, 2024
Save the date: December 2, 5-7pm for an opening reception. Free and open to the public.

Foreign Bodies

Rowena Finn chose the the title “Foreign Bodies”, because she is a foreigner when she visits her “home” in the Philippines, and yet she also appears to many as a foreigner, even when she’s in her own hometown. “Sometimes I’m a foreigner to myself trying to understand the clash of cultures and reaching as far back as I can go in search of my tribal and matriarchal roots” says Finn.

Using indigenous materials to include, pina cloth (made of pineapple leaf fibers), capiz shells, and caribou horn, along with the materials she has been working with all of her life: watercolor, oil paints, embroidery floss, etc., Finn explores being Filipino-American, probing the generational scars of colonization and assimilation, and being a visual artist in a community that doesn’t necessarily understand, value, or support this kind of work.

“Foreign Bodies” encompasses a variety of paintings and mixed media artworks to include a large human heart sculpture titled “What Nourishes Me Destroys Me” which Finn has constructed from capiz shells mounted on a large wooden spoon being stabbed by a large matching wooden fork. The spoon and fork (usually 2-3 feet long) were common dining room decorations in many Filipino-American homes when Finn was growing up.

Other works in Finn’s “Foreign Bodies” series includes a painting with the words “Oh, you don’t speak?” emblazoned across gallery-wrapped canvas using handmade paint with finely ground capiz shells. A graphite piece titled “Eh-Study” resembles a Bargue study of noses, but instead of the actual Greco-Roman noses used in ateliers, is a study of Filipino noses, which are distinctly flatter, wider, and/or rounder.

Rowena Finn is an Instructor at the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia, a Workshop instructor at the Chrysler Museum of Art, and is the President of the Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists. Finn graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Minor in Art History. Rowena Finn is a contributing Writer on the Cecilia Beaux Literature Committee of the Portrait Society of America.

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