KALETA DOOLIN: Crazier Than Crazy Quilts

Erin Cluley Gallery and Cluley Projects are pleased to announce Crazier than Crazy Quilts – a survey of works by Dallas-based artist Kaleta Doolin. The solo exhibition will be on view April 1st through May 6th, 2023, at both gallery locations, Erin Cluley Gallery at 150 Manufacturing Street, Suite 210 in the Design District and Cluley Projects located at 2123 Sylvan Avenue in West Dallas.  An opening reception will be held Saturday, April 1st from 4-7 PM. Both galleries are open weekly Wednesday through Saturday, 12 – 5 PM and by appointment.

“When I turned 10 years old, I expected to have the same privilege as my brother,” said Kaleta Doolin, “but, my parents said, ‘No. You’re a girl . . . you can’t be out on the street by yourself’.” Like most American women, Doolin learned from a young age the inequitable privilege given to the men around her. Years later, as an MFA student at Southern Methodist University (SMU), Doolin came face-to-face with the canonical exclusion of women artists in H.W. Janson’s History of Art
Originally published in 1935, Janson’s survey of western art history was the go-to introductory text for university students interested in art history. Doolin quickly discovered the caveat; Janson’s text included no women. Since graduating from SMU, she has dedicated her artistic practice to continuing the legacies of historical women artists as well as those closest to her, all while carving a niche for herself in the greater canon.
Exhibiting across the two gallery locations, Erin Cluley Gallery and Cluley Projects will feature more than three decades of Doolin’s work. Crazier than Crazy Quilts, includes the feminist’s contributions to the arts; her artistic practice speaking to accomplishments in sculpture, textiles, book arts, installation and conceptual art.
Since 1988, Doolin has developed a style to facilitate her intersectional social critique. Casting traditionally domestic items in steel and iron, her sculptural work reverses the cultural equation of femininity with weakness. Rusting doilies and patinaed florals carry on the legacies of their referents, putting Doolin in dialogue with artists like Betye Saar, Méret Oppenheim and Louise Bourgeois. By working with found objects, these artists encourage future generations to eschew the oppressive constraints of domesticity as it was, and still is, exercised on women.
Several works in Crazier than Crazy Quilts, respond to and critique H.W. Janson’s art historical boy’s club. Working with an early edition of Janson’s text, Doolin scores a vulva down the middle of art history itself. In another series of work, she embroiders synonyms and colloquialisms for male genitalia on neckties. Doolin weaponizes her unique wit against themes of cultural inequity and generational trauma.
In the largest survey of her work covering both gallery locations, Erin Cluley Gallery and Cluley Projects, Crazier than Crazy Quilts establishes Doolin as an important orator of 20th and 21st century feminism. She harnesses the emotional power of objects and symbols, denaturing their biases and grounding them in a contemporary feminist sensibility. Looking at religions like Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism, Doolin maps the history of women in faith and culture. She harnesses the accomplishments of those before her, setting a strong foundation for future generations of women and girls. 
Crazier than Crazy Quilts will be Kaleta Doolin’s first solo exhibition with Erin Cluley Gallery and Cluley Projects. 
About the Artist
Kaleta Doolin was born in Dallas, Texas. She received her BFA in Fine Arts from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in 1983 and her MFA in Sculpture from SMU in 1987.

Doolin is a feminist artist known for her interdisciplinary application of industrial materials and found objects. In the foreword to Doolin’s forthcoming book, Jessica Morgan, director of the Dia Art Foundation, writes, “Delighting in the act of transformation, in Doolin’s hands hard becomes pliable; solid becomes porous; and delicate becomes durable.” 
The artist’s work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, the Center for Book Arts, New York, the Sculpture Center, New York, the Vizivàrosi Gallery in Budapest, Hungary, the Meadows Museum and The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, both in Dallas.
Her work can be found in collections at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England and the Museé de l’Erotisme, Paris, France.
Doolin is known internationally known for her cultural engagement with the community, which she has always seen as social practice that connects deeply to her studio practice. In addition to her ongoing work as an artist, Doolin was co-director of the 5501 Columbia Art Center from 1992 to 2001 and was the co-founder of the Texas African American Photography Archives.
About Erin Cluley Gallery and Cluley Projects
Erin Cluley Gallery is a contemporary art gallery representing emerging, mid-career, and established artists from Dallas and the United States. The gallery presents a provocative program of artists working in both traditional and alternative forms including painting, sculpture, new media, photography, sculptural installation and public intervention.  
In 2014, Erin Cluley Gallery ignited a creative movement in West Dallas acting as a hub for visual arts and community engagement. After nearly five years on Fabrication Street, the gallery has moved its operation to Riverbend – a development in Dallas’ Design District celebrating the intersection between culture and commerce.
In April 2021, Cluley opened Cluley Projects – a satellite location in West Dallas acting as an incubator space focusing on regional artists and providing a platform for discovery and mentorship. 

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