Women... can’t live without ‘em
Pinciotti’s observations went on to suggest that he often seeks a “common thread connecting the artists” when creating a show and that “this year, that thread was women whose work made strong, artistic statements with a minimal and concise artistic vocabulary.” While there was no mention of Women’s History Month, I’m left to assume that this was one of the “subconscious” connections that synchronistically came into being. It had not occurred to me that the art world was inhospitable to women, but I took a look on the Internet and discovered that “women artists faced challenges due to gender biases in the mainstream fine art world. They have often encountered difficulties in training, traveling and trading their work, and gaining recognition,” and that “beginning in the late 1960s and 1970s, female artists and art historians created a Feminist art movement, that overtly addresses the role of women in the art world and explores women in art history,” (www.wikipedia.org).
There may have been challenges addressed in the DVAA show (which is on exhibit through March 16) but I don’t believe any of them stem from gender bias at this point. Phyllis Bilick, Miriam Hernàndez, Ellen Kantro, Jessica Kinney, Hisako Kobayashi, Marjorie Morrow, Tiffanie Morrow, Lisa Strier, Ellen Wilkinson and Mary Grace Yanashot represent a wide spectrum of artistic interpretation and Pinciotti said that he was “struck by these artists’ critical eye as well as their Spartan and fearless approach to their work.” What struck me was not only the individuality of the women’s work, but also how their processes varied, along with the mediums employed. Kantro’s mixed media panels incorporate fabric, copper, wood veneers and cork, and although each is designed to hang vertically, she informed me that she “always creates them horizontally” and doesn’t see them as the art observer does “until they are hung in the gallery.” I found this aspect of the work fascinating, and although Kantro did explain that her panels are often so large that it’s difficult to see the sum of their parts before completion, she smiled and shrugged when I suggested that she stand back from time to time.