In her essay On Silence, Rebecca Solnit writes, “sometimes just being able to speak, to be heard, to be believed, are crucial parts of membership in a family, a community, a society. Sometimes our voices break those things apart; sometimes those things are prisons.” The works in this show address the ways in which the artist was silenced, from the deeply personal assaults on their voice, to the overarching patriarchal nature of their community. The exhibition What the Lips Can’t Say is an alternate means of breaking free of that prison through the coded language of color, pattern, and texture.
Upon entering the gallery the viewer is confronted by a vagina-like fiber installation that unapologetically takes up space while delicately evaporating into lacy details. Rusty Apparitions alludes both to the physicality of the piece (a rusty orange color) and its flickering sense of invisibility. Operating as a “glory hole” as well as a thin scrim of di usion, the piece speaks to emotional complexities: a vulnerability of desiring to be seen and heard while remaining (safely) partially veiled.
Also in the exhibition are pieces from her series of fiber paintings in which she utilizes fabric, yarn, glitter, and other found objects related to cra and domesticity. Departing from gendered conceptions around the medium of painting and following the path of feminist artists before her, Puliti has forged her own trail by incorporating techniques such as collage and crochet. The works in the exhibitions are conceived as an act of personal resistance to this and other narratives that we have internalized.