Faith Wilding (b. 1943) works across disciplines, creating sculptural installations, performances, essays, and monologues as a means to explore the feminine identity in social, psychological, and biological terms. When Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro founded the Feminist Art Program—which they began at California State University, Fresno in 1970 and then moved to the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 1971—Wilding was one of its first graduate students. The program’s first major project, Womanhouse (1971-72) was a defining moment in Wilding’s career. Her sculpture Crocheted Environment (1972), installed in one of the house’s rooms, formed an archetypal womb-like structure around its viewers, the feminine connotations of which were enforced by her use of crochet in its construction. It is illustrative of Wilding’s interest in highlighting women’s maternal, domestic, and often communal roles in society—sometimes to complicate or question them, sometimes to celebrate them.
More recently Wilding has focused specifically upon the ways in which bodies, and particularly women’s bodies, are affected by the encroachment of technology upon biology. She has published essays relating to the topic and created works such as Recombinants (1992-96), a set of drawings depicting humans that have melded with machines, plants, and animals. subRosa, an artists’ collaborative of which she is a member, creates works relating to biotechnology and women’s health, women’s representation in politics and the media, and other issues—all relating to what it terms “cyberfeminism.”
Faith Wilding, Daily Text (1988). Watercolor and ink, paper OS, 9 1/2" x 13".
Fernandez, Maria, Faith Wilding, and Michelle Wright. Domain Errors!: Cyberfeminist Practices. Brooklyn, New York: Autonomedia, 2002.
Griffis, Ryan. "Tandem Surfing the Third Wave: Interview with subRosa." In The Interventionists: Users' Manual for the Creative Disruption of Everyday Life, edited by Nato Thompson and Gregory Sholette, 123-124. North Adams, Mass.: MASS MoCA, 2004.
Wilding, Faith. By Our Own Hands: The Woman Artist's Movement, Southern California, 1970-1976. Santa Monica, Calif.: Double X, 1977.
———. "Notes on the Political Condition of Cyberfeminism." Art Journal 57, no. 2 (Summer, 1998): 46-59.