WOMEN, an exhibition, opened Saturday at the D Center @ MAP, the original location of Maryland Art Place at 218 West Saratoga Street.
Curator Sarah McCann in front of Rikiesha Hawkins My Black is Beautiful
This expansive, articulate show includes more than fifty art works by thirty-nine artists, yet the spirit and message of the show are coherent and unified, exploring and confronting the many issues specifically related to women and their place in the world. This show is a ‘must-see’. There is something fascinating and meaningful here for everyone.
Thanks to a stellar curatorial effort by Sarah McCann, the art works demonstrate a focus on women and their essential nature, the roles they occupy in society, and the perceptions, joys and tribulations they experience in life.
There is a sense of history and context, and also a forward-looking sensibility advocating diversity, optimism and entrepreneurial spirit.
Many of the artists, through photography, sculpture, fabrics, painting and assemblage, delve into women’s identities and the challenges of balancing between work and family, sharing pictures and stories of family members, mothers and grandmothers, friends and neighbors.
Theresa Columbus with portrait by Minas Konsolas
There is a detailed interactive listing of all the participating artists HERE that is well worth a look, and the thoughtful installation includes each of the artists’ statements posted alongside their work.
War Is Over? by Michel Modell
One of the most prominent paintings is a five-by-seven-foot watercolor on canvas entitled War Is Over? by Michel Modell. The artist has created a fascinating and compelling portrait of a woman shrouded in cloak and scarf, her eyes concealed by sunglasses, holding up a placard written in Arabic.
The figure reaches out to the viewer, her story evident in the clash of colors and surrounding atmosphere. The painterly touch, powerful composition and technical excellence of this museum-quality painting make it a thrilling point of entry to the exhibition.
Rebecca Nagle and Sarah McCann in front of Nagle’s A Wall is Just a Wall
Stories of tension and conflict also arise in Rebecca Nagle’s photo and video installation, A Wall is Just a Wall, in which she takes her call-and-response interactive element to an intense extreme, responding to performance requests by incarcerated women at a prison in Germany.
This subversive piece not only compells the viewer to imagine the experience of being in prison, it also seems to reach out and provide a fleeting moment of freedom for those prisoners whose wishes the artist is able to grant.
Cierra Cary displays Explosion Custom Painted Nike Sneakers
Artist Cierra Cary displays Explosion Custom Painted Nike Sneakers, colorful and evocative. “Sneakers are a huge component of urban culture and a symbol of self-identity,” says the artist. “Walking every day in my shoes gives me the confidence and drive to continue doing what I love and do best.”
Sticks and Stones by April Warren and Shalya Marsh
Mare Vaccaro’s photo Airstream
The stylized and distinctive photos of Mare Vaccaro are a riveting and poignant component of the show. Vaccaro has a genetic miscoded medical condition that renders her body completely hairless, and the photographs of her posing in elegant clothes in dynamic theatrical environments confront societal expectations about standards of femininity, the “persona that masks the true self,” redefining the viewer’s range of definitions of women to include a bald and bold figure exuding tranquility and confidence in her unusual corner of the world.
Untitled Camouflage by Lindsy Halleckson
The painting Untitled Camouflage by Lindsy Halleckson renders a noisy red color field in undulating strokes and waves, with connotations of uncertainty and flux, but with an energy that is also “organic and nurturing,” according to the artist. “Nations across the globe attach pride to the creation of their own camouflage pattern, thus creating a symbol of protection and pride correlating with survival in nature, and in war. Camouflage not only equates to function, adaptation, and evolution but depicts survival in my art, life, and culture as well.”
Julia DiBussolo with Crowning
A collaborative fabric and fashion piece entitled Crowning, by Hannah Brancato, Julia DiBussolo and Whitney Frazier, focuses on shared experiences of motherhood, an offshoot of their entrepreneurial incubator at Mother Made, whose mission is to promote the financial independence and job training of low-income mothers and women in Baltimore by creating and selling products that reduce the impact of consumers on the environment.
Through craft, re-use, and a collaboratively-developed curriculum emanating from the MICA Community Arts program, these artist-activists are helping participants develop a presence to face the challenges of the new economy by making and selling goods and presenting their work to the public.
They will sponsor a trunk show at Ten Thousand Villages in Fells Point on May 5, among other upcoming events.
Check out their web site at http://mothermadebaltimore.com/ to learn more about an organization that embodies the dynamic spirit and functionality of this entire exhibition in a very tangible way.
Meaghan Carpenters Trust
A visitor shows off after visiting Meaghan Carpenters Trust
Colin Campbell, one of several male contributors, exhibits a beautiful illustration from his webcomic The Women of Circus Saudade, noting the challenge and responsibility of a thirty-year-old male writer inhabiting the role of a teenage girl.
“I get to explore the victories, strengths, failures and evolution of someone who, I believe, is an extraordinary young woman,” says Campbell. “As someone who is decidedly not a young woman, there’s a great deal for me to learn there.”
Upcoming events in conjunction with WOMEN, an exhibition include a special performance at the adjacent 14Karat Cabaret on Friday, March 23 at 9 pm, and the Wide Angle Youth Media Festival of videos and performances on Wednesday, April 4 at 6 pm.
The show runs through April 14, and gallery hours are by appointment, please contact curator Sarah McCann for more information at 646-573-5509, and absolutely plan to go and experience this far-reaching and challenging exhibition.
Dan Van Allen and Selena Schreyer in front of My Kali by Regina Armenta