Portia Munson — Born 1961, Beverly, Massachusetts. Lives and works in Catskill, New York. Represented by PPOW Gallery, New York.
Portia Munson works in sculpture, installation, painting and digital photography, focusing on themes related to the environment and feminism. Her work includes large-scale agglomerations of mass-produced plastic found objects arranged by color, as well as small oil paintings of individual domestic found objects, and digital photographs of flowers, weeds and dead animals found near her home in upstate New York.
Munson first achieved notoriety with her work “Pink Project: Table” in the "Bad Girls" show at the New Museum, New York, in 1994. That piece, consisting of thousands of pink plastic found objects spread out on a table, also appeared in Munson's 1994 solo show at Yoshii Gallery in New York, along with sculptures comprising accumulations of pink objects encased in glass vitrines. In the mid-’90s, when Munson had her first child, she was already steeped in the significance of pink, and questioning its relation to gender and beauty. “I was always really attracted to and loved the color pink, but I think I wanted to know what it was about,” she explains. “When I got to art school, and later, I was thinking, well what is it about this color? Why am I attracted to it? It can’t just be that it symbolises passive prettiness.” She went on to expound the color’s force, and to capitalize on the way it has been used to categorize women.
Munson received a BFA from Cooper Union School of Art in 1983 and earned an MFA from Mason Gross School of Art at Rutgers University in 1990. She also studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine in 1987. Munson is the recipient of several notable fellowship/ residencies, including ones at Yaddo in 1999, The McDowell Colony in 1992, 1993, and 1998. She has also been a visiting artist/ lecturer at a number of prestigious institutions, including Yale School of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, The New Museum for Contemporary Art, Parsons School of Design, CAL Arts, and Massachusetts College of Art, among others.
Bad Girls 2021 - Featured Work
Pink Project: Table (from the exhibition
Bad Girls, New Museum, 1994), 2010
62.9 x 77.5 cm - 24.8 x 30.5 inches
edition 2 of 5
Courtesy of the Artist and PPOW, New York.