Our Woman Made exhibition opened on December 17, 2016 and closed April 23, 2017. It featured almost one hundred works of art including oils, watercolors, pastels, prints, drawings, sculptures, pottery, textiles, and glass, all created by female artists who are part of HMA’s Permanent Collection. Works included perennial favorites, seldom displayed older works, less familiar works by familiar artists, and a selection of our most recent acquisitions. Many of the artists included have North Carolina connections.
The show was intended as a celebration and encouragement of women in the arts, to be shared with a diverse audience, multi-generational and representative of varied backgrounds with regards to ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
Among the just over 80 artists in the show were the following. The highlighted names are links to individual blog posts.
Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012) “Printmaking for Catlett is a consciously political practice. At the same time, however, her prints ... manifest her understanding that the power of an image resides in the artist’s command of form, sensitivity to materials and technical proficiency.” (Art historian and Catlett scholar Melanie Herzog, 2005)
Maud Florance Gatewood (1934-2004) was a powerful force in the North Carolina art community. As a painter, teacher, activist and staunch individualist, she delighted viewers, inspired students, supported organizations, and served as a role model for how to participate in a world of images and ideas.
Lillian Mathilde Genth (1876-1953) James McNeill Whistler likely influenced Genth to turn in 1906 from landscape painting to the nudes in outdoor settings for which she is primarily known. These she painted from models posed away from prying eyes at her woodland summer home in the Connecticut Berkshire Mountains.
Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973) The first of Huntington’s equestrian sculptures of Joan of Arc was exhibited in the prestigious Paris Salon of 1910 and earned her a first-place award; but the award was taken back when the judges stated that the work was too good to have been created by a woman.
Jane Peterson (1876-1965) Peterson’s ambition was to be judged not as a woman but as a painter, and this she achieved. She became famous for a wide range of works from landscapes to still-lives. Her The Windowseat continues to be a favorite of HMA visitors.
The memory paintings of Minnie Reinhardt (1898-1986) show life in the rural North Carolina farming community where she grew up. Although the seeming simplicity of her paintings may inspire nostalgia for a seemingly simpler time, she showed all the hard work it took to provide for yourself and your family on a small farm.
Ella E. Richards (active 1st half of 20th cent.) After Richards' death, Paul Whitener approached her sister Laura about purchasing two of Ella's works for HMA. Laura, in a letter to Paul dated July 30, 1950, responded that "I will be glad to present The Violinist, which is considered one of her finest works."
Kara Elizabeth Walker (born 1969) Probably Walker's most controversial work is her first public sculpture project in 2014, A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, a colossal sugar-coated sphinx constructed at the one-time Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn, NY.
Bessie Harvey (1929-1994) Bessie Harvey is considered to be one of America's foremost visionary artists. Her art arose from her fundamental beliefs in the relationships of man, nature and God and is a testament to the enduring acts of faith and creativity.
Ardyth Cowart Hearon has lived, studied art and painted in Hickory since the 1980’s, declaring “I cannot not paint.” She says of her art that “Tearing fabrics and applying them to canvas, mixing various media in with the paint, and building surfaces over time is the foundation of my process."
A catalog that includes every artist featured along with pictures of most of the works will be available in the Museum's gift shop, soon we hope. It is currently at the printer's.
Post by Karin Borei, HMA Project Coordinator, writer and editor as needed, and HMA blogger since March 2015.