Rockwell Museum, January 19-April 22
This story was featured in the January 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.
It’s no secret in the art world that, traditionally, women have been underrepresented in prestigious museum collections and exhibitions. Statistics tell the story—just 5 percent of the permanent holdings in American museums are works by women artists. Of course, all that is beginning to change, and organizations such as the American Women Artists are helping to ensure that this vital shift continues into the future.
In 2017 the AWA launched its “25 in 25” initiative with the goal of securing 25 museum shows in as many years for its members. According to executive director Robin Knowlton, the group wants to raise awareness about gender bias while offering professional women artists exhibitions at prestigious venues.
Last year the organization presented its first show in the series at the Tucson Desert Art Museum in Arizona. This year the group moves to the East for its second presentation, a group show opening on Friday, January 19, at the Rockwell Museum in Corning, NY. Perspectives of the American Experience: A National Juried Exhibition of American Women Artists features 75 paintings and sculptures, including works in the still-life, landscape, figurative, and wildlife genres. Participating artists include Carol Amos, Donna Howell-Sickles, Carol Strock Wasson, Sheri Farabaugh, Dianne Massey Dunbar, Heide Presse, Pokey Park, Cecy Turner, Karen Vance, Star Liana York, and many others.
In her painting IN THE LAND OF THE YELLOW SKY, on view in the exhibit, Texas artist Nancy Boren explores a favorite color as well as the element of movement. Boren sets a rodeo cowgirl against a yellow sky and a brilliant yellow New Mexico state flag. “I love yellow, and I have wanted to do some pieces with large areas of the color,” she says. “The graphic quality of flags is a theme I revisit every so often. In this painting, these ideas come together. A young woman riding fast on a beautiful horse in the grand entry of a rodeo seemed to be the perfect vehicle to include those elements and movement.”
Artists such as Boren and Cathryne Trachok say belonging to AWA has opened the doors to impressive museum and gallery exhibitions for their artworks and allowed their voices to be heard. In this show, Trachok exhibits THE FOURTH MULE, a painting that captures a slice of life in New Orleans. The California-based artist has visited The Big Easy many times over the years. From an array of reference photographs, Trachok settled on the idea of depicting the mules that convey tourists on carriage rides throughout the historic French Quarter. “When I got back home with all my photographs, there it was—the perfect timing when a mule turned his head, making the rope taut,” she says. “I couldn’t have staged it any better.”
On Friday, April 20, the museum hosts an artists’ reception and awards ceremony from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. At the event, AWA awards $10,000 worth of cash and merchandise as prizes. A panel discussion with Kirsty Buchanan, the museum’s curator of collections, and AWA Master Signature Members takes place from 3 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 21. Later in the year, an AWA museum show opens at the Haggin Museum in Stockton, CA. —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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