The female form is a popular theme with many artists, including impressionist artist Mary Kassatt and Frida Kahlo, who specializes in surrealist self-portraits.
California Lutheran University plans to celebrate women artists who feature women as their subjects in the next Kwan Fong Art Gallery exhibit.
Faculty member and art professor Michael Pearce has put together the gender-themed exhibit as the third in a series.
In 2011, the Art Department held an exhibit in the Kwan Fong Gallery dedicated to romantic figures. The exhibit had a noticeable lack of men as subjects within the art.
As a response, in March of 2013, the Art Department hosted “The Man Show,” which depicted how artists saw men of the 21st century.
Pearce has organized “Women by Women” as a way to include female perspectives in art.
“Women have been the subject of representational art for as long as artists have picked up tools to shape sculptures, drawings and paintings, most often under the scrutiny of the male gaze,” Pearce said.
There will be artists featured from around the world, such as Pam Hawkes, Terry Spehar-Fahey, Kathiucia Dias, Betty Shelton, Kathryn Jacobi and more. “Women by Women” also includes Ruth Weisberg, former dean of fine arts at the University of Southern California. Weisberg’s works are predominantly drawings, paintings and printmaking. She is also well known for her “Cycle of Life” paintings that reflect upon the differences between generations.
Sadie Valeri, another featured artist in the “Women by Women” exhibit, contributes to an online resource and blog called “Women Painting Women” that highlights female artists who also paint female figures. She and the other contributors created this blog and website in response to online discussions about how contemporary women artists see, paint and talk about women as their subjects.
“Women Painting Women” is not only a medium for discussing topics in gender and perception, but a way for viewers to see first-hand the differences between these perspectives.
Peter Carlson, who has a doctorate in history of religion, is the director of the Gender and Women’s Studies program at CLU and is interested in seeing this exhibit.
“Though women make up a huge percentage of artists, they are significantly underrepresented in museums and other art exhibitions throughout the world,” Carlson said.
Senior Kacy Cashatt hopes for the minor to someday evolve into a major.
“[The GWS minor] encompasses so much more than solely gender and women’s issues… it has enabled me to look at the world with a view of equal human rights,” Cashatt said.
Carlson hopes to see more classes like this offered in the future and wants to see the GWS program expand every year.
“I think our institution could value having a more diverse selection to choose from,” Cashatt said.
CLU strives to inform the student body on issues that affect them not only when they are in school, but also once they are out in the professional community. This exhibit will offer students a glimpse of a different world perspective.
The opening reception will be held in the Kwan Fong Gallery on Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. and the exhibit will continue through April 12.
Published Feb. 12, 2014