An exhibition co-created by UW–Madison’s Tomiko Jones opens on Monday, Aug. 8, at the Brooks Stevens Gallery at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD).
Titled “Thresholds,” the exhibition addresses memory, identity, labor, and death through the photography-based work of Jones, an assistant professor in the School of Education’s Art Department, and Elizabeth M. Claffey, an associate professor at Indiana University. “Finding an affinity through our artwork, ‘Thresholds’ developed from an ongoing conversation and growing friendship between Elizabeth and me,” says Jones. “We touched on common themes in our practice and process, the crossings and departures, and what felt significant to bring into the public eye.”
Jones and Claffey met while they were both serving on the board of directors for the Society for Photographic Education. Their joint exhibition was initially planned for fall 2020, and was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jones remarks that the exhibition grew because of the delay. “Our conversation developed over those two years,” she says, “and it shaped what we decided to show in response to uncertainty in the world.”
Jones and Claffey aim to hold public space for experiences and emotions that are often expected to remain private. The artists emphasize their own labor and ritual as an activism that shapes identity and strengthens their bond to place and family.