Exploring Feminism and Space through the Art of Faith Wilding

a woman in a chait
Faith Wilding: Waiting, 1972

Faith Wilding’s pioneering work challenges traditional notions of gender, power dynamics, and the use of space within both the art world and society at large.

Born in Paraguay and raised in the United States, Wilding’s multicultural background deeply influences her artistic practice. She rose to prominence in the 1970s as a key figure in the feminist art movement, co-founding the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles—an important hub for feminist artists. Wilding’s work often examines the female body, its representation, and the societal constructs that shape it.

One of Wilding’s most renowned pieces is “Crocheted Environment,” created in 1972. This immersive installation consists of crocheted forms suspended from the ceiling, enveloping the viewer in a delicate, womb-like space. Through this piece, Wilding explores themes of domesticity, femininity, and the often-overlooked labor of women.

Another notable work by Wilding is “Waiting,” a performance piece first presented in 1972. In this durational performance, Wilding sits silently in a chair for several hours, embodying the passive role often assigned to women in society. Through her stillness, Wilding challenges viewers to confront their assumptions about women’s agency and presence in public space.

In addition to her visual art practice, Wilding is also a prolific writer and educator. Her influential essay “Cyborg Manifesto,” co-authored with Donna Haraway, explores the intersection of technology, feminism, and identity—a topic that remains relevant in today’s digital age.

Wilding’s work continues to inspire contemporary artists and activists, sparking conversations about feminism, gender politics, and the power dynamics inherent in the use of space. Through her art, she invites us to reimagine the possibilities of space and envision a future where all voices are heard and valued.

drawing of figures
Sally Jane Brown: Tribute to Faith Wilding 2

P.S. As a tribute to Faith Wilding’s groundbreaking exploration of feminism and space, I created a drawing that pays homage to her innovative approach. In my piece, I delved into the concept of negative space, echoing Wilding’s challenging use of spatial dynamics. Additionally, I incorporated elements inspired by Wilding’s iconic vulva-shaped work, engaging in a visual dialogue with her exploration of the female body. Through the depiction of dual female nudes from both front and back perspectives, I sought to celebrate Wilding’s legacy while adding my own interpretation to the conversation on gender, identity, and space.