Natalie Castrogiovanni and Beatrice Shilton

Montreal, Canada

Biography

Natalie Castrogiovanni is a multidisciplinary artist based in Montreal. She began her formal education at the renowned Beal Art Program in London, Canada. She completed her BFA in Sculpture and Installation at OCAD University in Toronto. Castrogiovanni has exhibited, performed, and curated nationally. Her work has been shown at Xpace Cultural Centre, OCAD University, Trinity Square Video, Beaver Hall Gallery, 12 Ossington St. window space (Toronto), School of Photographic Arts Ottawa (Ottawa), Art Mûr (Montreal), Mile Zero Dance, and The Works Gallery (Edmonton). Her work is part of The Beal Art Collection in London, Canada.

Beatrice Shilton is a ceramic sculptor and mixed media artist based in Montreal. She began her formal education at the renowned Beal Art Program in London, Canada. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at NSCAD University, Halifax, majoring in ceramics focusing on installation. Shilton has exhibited nationally and internationally. Her work has been shown at The Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Satellite Gallery (London, Canada), TAP Centre for Creativity (London, Canada) and The Anna Leonowens Gallery (Halifax, Canada). Her work is part of The Beal Art Collection in London, Canada.

About the artwork

O Mothers You Have Given Birth to Heroes (2021)

O Mothers You Have Given Birth to Heroes is a collaborative performance between Natalie Castrogiovanni and Beatrice Shilton, in response to Ursula K. Le Guin’s essay “The Carrier-Bag Theory of Fiction”. The installation explores gender, labour, and craft in the home and the art world and investigates the myth of the white male genius, often portrayed as the archetype of The Hero. Castrogiovanni and Shilton discuss the omission of women from the canon of Great Art. As sculptors working with ceramics, the artists evokes the historical marginalization of craft and the exclusion of these communities from the contemporary art conversation.

An exceptionally long dining table is furnished with ceramic dishware, handmade or found by the artists. At one end of the table, Castrogiovanni (inhabiting the masculine role), dressed in formal attire reminiscent of a tuxedo, stacks dishes into a tall, precarious pile in a gesture of hoarding resources. On the other end, Shilton (inhabiting the feminine role), in a white gown, sets the table for a dinner party. While Castrogiovanni embodies the masculine archetype of The Hero, Shilton represents The Hero’s feminine counterpart, The Virgin’s Promise. This archetype differs from The Hero, in that it must reject the expectations of its community to fulfill its own desires.

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Photo : Camille Dubuc