Shannon Plumb: What A Character Opens April 21, 2015

03/20/15 to 10/31/18
Boca Raton Museum of Art

Shannon Plumb is a woman of many identities.

In her own life, Plumb is an artist, actress, director, mother, and wife; on screen she’s a bored stewardess, an unexpected Olympic athlete, a would-be pin-up, a bustling businessman, and dozens more characters.  The native New Yorker explores each role with low-tech props and a perfect sense of comedic timing in her ongoing series of short vignettes in Shannon Plumb: What A Character, on view beginning April 21, 2015 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Boca Raton, Florida.  The witty one-woman performances have a lot to say about life’s little moments and the female perspective, although her medium of choice is silent film. 

Towheads, 2013 will debut at a matinee on Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 3:00 p.m.  Free with price of admission to the Museum.  The 85-minute film (NR) is the first feature length work by artist and experimental filmmaker Shannon Plumb.  A comedy about a housewife whose creative ambitions are stifled by domestic responsibilities is playfully acted by Plumb in a variety of disguises and eccentric characters.

“Plumb is hilarious,” Ken Johnson of the New York Times has written.  “Comparing her to Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton may seem like a stretch, but it’s not.”

Plumb’s series, first filmed on Super-8 and later on green screens, captures funny and humanizing moments in the lives of her characters.  In Stewardess, a bored and sarcastic airline attendant goes through the motions of the pre-flight safety message.  Rattles and Cherries depicts a new mother attempting to regain some of her sex appeal only to be interrupted by the needs of her newborn.  Her mounting exasperation is light-hearted and playful, yet powerful in highlighting an angle that her silent film predecessors missed.

“It’s like starting over with silent film,” Plumb said in a 2009 interview at the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.  “The comedy of the silent era never explored women’s issues – it’s so exciting to explore that now.  I feel like we’ve opened a universe that hasn’t been touched yet.”

The 45-year old Plumb bridges contemporary art with a nostalgic form, employing knowing looks or absurd props to generate a laugh from the audience with each piece.  Her approach is a refreshing and unique contribution to the cannon of women’s voices; rather than highlighting uncomfortable schisms between feminist and male-dominated viewpoints, Plumb works to show the imperfections and humor in simply being human.

“I want to show the imperfect perfectly,” she’s said of her shorts, “to explore those perfect imperfections.”

Concurrently on exhibition at the Museum through July 12, 2015:  Helena Rubinstein: Beauty Is Power and Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil and Surrealism and Magic.  Also on view is Hammock Pointe: Express Yourself, through June 14, 2015, an exhibition of student portraits and narratives from the third graders at Hammock Pointe Elementary.  The work is centered on ekphrasis, a technique of writing vivid descriptions of art.

Founded in 1950 by the Art Guild of Boca Raton, the Museum’s collections, innovative exhibitions, and educational programming are international in scope and reflect the creative expression of the Florida region.  In 2001, the Boca Raton Museum of Art moved into its new home in the heart of Mizner Park.  The Art School, located nearby on West Palmetto Park Road (the Museum’s original location), offers more than 100 weekly classes in a variety of media for adults and children.  The Artists’ Guild remains a strong auxiliary of the Museum with more than 350 artist-members who actively exhibit throughout the area and whose work may be seen at the Artists’ Guild Gallery on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach.

The Museum is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am until 5pm, on Thursdays from 10am until 8pm, Saturdays and Sundays from Noon until 5pm and is closed on Mondays and holidays.  Adult admission is $12, Senior Citizens are $10, children age 12 and under and students with IDs are free.  An extensive list of programming and events is available online at www.bocamuseum.org.

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Editor’s Note:  High-res images available upon request.