Show Preview | Women Artists of the West

Annapolis, MD
McBride Gallery, November 5-December 3

Laurel Lake McGuire, In the Glow, watercolor, 12 x 22.

Laurel Lake McGuire, In the Glow, watercolor, 12 x 22.

This story was featured in the November 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

East greets West this month at the 47th national juried exhibition of the Women Artists of the West, the oldest juried women’s arts organization in the country. The show opens on Sunday,
November 5, at McBride Gallery in An
napolis, MD, with a reception and awards presentation beginning at 1 p.m.

The East Coast venue presents a welcome change for the group, notes WAOW president Sarah Kennedy. “A lot of our artists are based in the Southwest,” she says, “so it’s exciting because this introduces them to people who may not be familiar with their work.”

Once dedicated exclusively to western women artists, today the nonprofit organization includes more than 300 female painters and sculptors from around the United States and Canada who portray a variety of subject matter. One constant over the years, however, has been the group’s commitment to promoting excellence in women’s fine art. Artists must meet strict criteria to be accepted into WAOW, and the jury process for the annual show is equally rigorous. This year eight jurors independently reviewed hundreds of entries and used a double-blind system in their selection process. “Just looking through the show catalog, I’m really pleased to see that our members aren’t afraid to take on a variety of subjects,” says Kennedy, “and we have some up-and-coming artists who are adding to our traditional world of art with quite a mix of styles, including whimsical and contemporary.”

The exhibition features 164 works by 139 artists, including two oils from one of the group’s newer members, Cynthia Feustel. The Colorado artist says WAOW provides “the whole package,” helping members promote their work and connect with one another in a supportive environment. “I think women artists can bring something different to the table than men,” she adds. “We have different emotions and life experiences, and we have a lot to offer.” In THE WOODWORKER, Feustel portrays a carpenter at a living history museum she visited in New Mexico. Every detail of the scene charmed her, from the man’s deep absorption in his task to the light streaming through his workshop window and the sweet scent of fresh-cut cedar as he whittled with his drawknife. “A lot of my work is close-up; it’s intimate,” she says. “I’m not just snapping photos but making a personal point of contact with people.”

Master Signature member Heather Arenas, who also lives in Colorado, brings NAPLES CAFÉ, a bright, impressionistic piece replete with Florida sunshine. “Naples is a vibrant place full of color and light, and this café scene contained all of those elements,” says the artist. Echoing Feustel’s sentiments, Arenas praises the camaraderie WAOW fosters. Many members make it a priority to attend the annual show, she notes, not only to see one another but also to meet collectors in person. “I’ll be there!” she adds.

Awards juror Lisa Egeli, an acclaimed portrait and landscape artist, gives an oil-painting demonstration at 2:30 p.m. the day before the opening. An art preview and wine reception follows at 6 p.m. All events are open to the public. —Kim Agricola

contact information
520.579.5584
www.waow.org

This story was featured in the November 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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