New York-based artist Beverly Semmes served as the Arthur L. and Sheila Prensky Island Press Visiting Artist for spring 2016. Semmes experiments across a wide variety of media, creating sculptures in clay, fabric, and glass, drawings, performances, photography, and video that explore relationships between craft and fine art, and between pleasure, gender, and desire.
In the early 2000s, she began The Feminist Responsibility Project (FRP), which, at its heart, features hundreds of drawings on pornographic magazine pages. Responding to pages from magazines such as Hustler and Penthouse, Semmes creates rough gestural marks that both conceal and reveal the women's bodies in their seductive poses. Imagine a committee of rogue censors responding to pornographic imagery. They blot out the literal; what is left behind and altered now speaks in a different voice.
Semmes has had numerous solo museum shows, including major exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; the Hirshhorn Museum (Washington DC), and the Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus, Ohio). Her work is included in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, New York), the Hirshhorn Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), the Denver Art Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.