This exhibition features images of ancient goddesses and feminine strength by artist Maria Cusumano (1958-2019). A dedicated artist, poet, and educator, Cusumano focused on ideas surrounding feminism and spirituality in her work. Eleven of Cusumano’s relief prints recently gifted to the museum will be on display.
Throughout her career, Cusumano was fascinated with the nature of feminine power and how that power has been expressed throughout time and across cultures and religions. Created during the 1990s while she was living and working in Iowa, this suite of prints features potent icons like the famed Venus of Willendorf, a stone figure from 25,000 to 30,000 years ago thought to represent a fertility goddess. Other imagery portrays the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy—Kuan Yin, and the Babylonian Goddess of War, Fertility, and Love — Ishtar. Through her dynamic imagery of empowering ancient myths, Cusumano encourages us to think about how they relate to feminism in contemporary times.
Maria Cusumano received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and her BFA from Parsons School of Design. She continued her education in psychology through doctoral coursework at Antioch New England Graduate School and the University of Iowa. Cusumano taught at Endicott College from 2001 until 2018, where she taught figure drawing, printmaking, and color theory. She also worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Craft Museum, Davenport Museum of Art, Johnson County Mental Health Center, and the International Center of Photography consulting on exhibition creation. Her artwork is in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, The Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Chicago Art institute amongst many other institutions.