Monday, August 8, 2011

Women by Women

Such a Good Listener, watercolor on wood panel, Suzannah Sinclair

If you are in DC, you should stop by Heiner Contemporary in Georgetown to see their current show. Here's my write-up for the blog Where the Girls Go:

Heiner Contemporary is a fresh new gallery in Georgetown, with an awesome bright pink door and some awesome art inside. Currently on view is “Women by Women,” a group show of women artists. According to gallery owner Margaret Heiner, the exhibition focuses on “conceptions of femininity and the ways that women both embrace and struggle against gender stereotypes.”

Originally, Heiner considered staging a show about domesticity. But she ultimately decided to show work featuring diverse manifestations of femininity, with depictions of women by women artists who deal with a broad range of themes in various media.

Kim McCarty presents large watercolors of waif-like adolescent girls, sometimes vulnerable, sometimes self-assured. Her pieces are somewhat similar in technique to work by Egon Schiele and Marlene Dumas (a contemporary South African/Dutch artist who is definitely worth a look). The blurry watercolor conveys how slippery and constantly changing adolescence can be.

Edwina White’ fashionable ladies are fun, stylized, and cartoony — she draws women with cinnabon coifs, aristocratic masculine dress, and fanciful swimming costumes, with surprising little moments of collage studding the drawings.

Suzannah Sinclair’s works reference vintage erotica as well as more contemporary subjects. She paints with watercolor on wood panel, gently staining the surface so that the images seem to emerge like delicate projections or overexposed camera film. Her sexy, beautiful pieces capture women in intimate moments — are they posing for the viewer, reveling in their own desires and sexuality, or both?

Judie Bamber’s amazing drawings riff on mid-century photos. Her “Mom Reading 2″ shows a domestic but intellectual woman. Australian artist Bridget Mac’s photos feature less conventional presentations of female identity and the female body — her subjects are athletic, androgynous, powerful. She explores and blurs gender categories in such works as "Masculine/Feminine", a portrait of the same woman in both “masculine” and “feminine” guises. Mickalene Thomas, known for her powerful paintings of women of color, has the screen-print "Michelle O" in the show. It is a bold, pop-art portrait — made of Mrs. Obama before she became first lady, but showing her with all the iconic power she has since attained.

Women by Women will be on view at Heiner Contemporary through August 20, 2011. The gallery is located at 1675 Wisconsin Ave, NW. BONUS! If you are looking for queer art in DC, check out the beautiful photography by Elle Perez at Conner Contemporary Gallery’s “Academy” group show of work by DC-area art students.

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