CHICAGO — Woman Made Gallery (WMG) is pleased to present “Political Woman,” a group exhibition juried by Christie Hefner and Carrie Secrist.
The concept for this show was developed by Rebecca Sive, a founding member of the Advisory Board of WMG and a collector of art by contemporary American women since the 1970s.
“Inasmuch as I am a human female, a social animal living within political systems, my work reflects this political reality and my experience as a female in this society. “—Carla Stetson, artist
Woman Made Gallery presents the Political Woman exhibition, a nuanced show featuring contemplative work by twenty artists from across the United States. Christie Hefner, CEO of Playboy Enterprises and Carrie Secrist, owner and director of the Secrist Gallery in Chicago, intentionally chose understated pieces to underscore the idea that politics is not always a brash, in-your-face activity but is sometimes subtle and insidious. Highly inflammatory subjects are here “illustrated in a very private, valid, and heartfelt manner. Shock value, in both the visual and the message contained in each work is replaced with the personal,” Secrist comments. Through painting, photography, sculpture, installations, fabric/fiber, mixed media, and assemblage, these artists explore “how often the political is framed by the personal,” Christie Hefner observes.
A few examples from the exhibition include:
Kristin Anderson’s digital frame piece Your…(#3) presents the photo of a woman with a constantly changing label: from “your friend” to “your ruler” to “your neighbor,” etc. Through this piece she brings to the fore issues of racial discrimination and profiling by forcing the viewer to confront their own appearance-based prejudices. Dawn Williams Boyd also questions the nature of the viewing experience with her painting of a lynch mob. In Center, TX 1920, the figures stand in a group with defiant stances, a single foot dangling above their heads. Her powerful colors and almost photographic presentation slyly show the viewer the horrific quality of this seemingly innocuous scene. Debi Harney engages with the concept of everyday violence in her art quilt, Are You a Witch, inspired by the campaign against female genital mutilation. Her intricately woven quilt is dotted by what seem to be flowers from a distance, but closer examination of the piece reveals an intricate series of tiny red stitches.
Exhibiting Artists: Karen Abbott (IL), Kristin Anderson (NY), Tracy Beaver (IL), Dawn A. Williams Boyd (CO), Christine DiThomas (IL), Henri Doner-Hedrick (KS), Heidi Hardin (CA), Debi Harney (WA), Robyn Henzel (NY), Dawn Hunter (GA), Tracey Lane (GA), Rosalie Mahoney (CA), Mary Ann Papanek-Miller (WA), Joanne Pasila (MA), Eden Stern (IL), Carla Stetson (MN), Judith Winn (MO), Alyssa Wood (MN), Nanette Wylde (CA), Hong Zhang (CA).
In addition, New York-based artist Leah Oates will show new works from her Paradura 2 series, a collection of artists’ books, c-prints and small-scale sculpture. This series investigates how individual memory shapes the perception and understanding of events over time. Oates collects and creates sensory symbols of particular moments, fragmenting and abstracting them. She summarizes, “by presenting a fuller and more abstract recording of perception and emotion my photos, books and sculptures capture the wonder, confusion and fullness of the whole moment.”
(Artwork: banner image by Henri Doner-Hedrick)