Saturday was the opening reception for the RISE: Empower, Change and Action! exhibit at Whitney Modern Gallery in Los Gatos. The drive from Richmond is a wondrous and congested adventure. My last excursion to the area was for an exhibit titled Factor XX at the Art Museum of Los Gatos in 2011 featuring nonfigurative female artists. Seven years later, the need for equality lingers.
From Gutfreund Cornett Art: “RISE: Empower, Change and Action! brings artists into dialogue and brings forth what is important to self, community, our nation and the world at large through art that reflects on, addresses and seeks solutions for a more positive, empowering future, particularly for self-identified women and girls as well as their families. It is underpinned by the feminist principle that believes in political, economic and social equality for all. RISE emphasizes the commonalities of our human experience.”
NOT YOUR SEX OBJECT was selected for the print/online catalog and exhibited on a monitor in the gallery. Art description: My art practice investigates symbols of influence that impact perception. A standard trucker mud flap has been repurposed altering its function. When Donald J. Trump became President, he was confronted with the Women’s March, sexual abuse victims, and the #metoo revolution. The structures of gender objectification are interwoven into systemic discrimination and consumerism. Women are not sex objects or empty silhouettes. We must reject and reclaim cultural symbols.
An exhibition highlight included Future Gains: the dollar is rising by Irene Carvajal. From Gutfreund Cornett Art’s website, Carvajal: “Equality benefits everyone. If value could be blind to race, gender, religion and sexual orientation our whole society would benefit. I created a new dollar bill, one that celebrates the future of our nation. A future in the hands of young people who reject old labels and are full of passion, strength and desire to make this a world where we are all valued equally…”
Jaunting for Restitution by Gina Herrera, Equal Means Equal by Indira Cesarine, and Witness by Sondra Schwetman bypassed the structures of traditional painting and conceptually delivered. Intention arrives in various modes outside of typical art store offerings. For Herrera, Cesarine, and Schwetman, meaning dictates materiality.
Meanwhile, Women’s March on Washington by Christine Giancola and Ladies in Lab Coats by Marie Bergstedt rotated thoughtful action on a monitor. Of particular note, Bergstedt’s statement concisely detailed inspiration: “Ladies in Lab Coats celebrates women, science and diversity. Concerned about current political decisions that threaten growth, I researched female scientists throughout history. Women across the world have had the intelligence and interest to lead in scientific discovery, but few have had the opportunity. This piece recognizes female scientists and aims to encourage girls to rise.”
Financial disparities continue to persist for women artists. Glass Ceilings in the Art Market states: “There are no women in the top 0.03% of the auction market, where 41% of the profit is concentrated. Overall, 96.1% of artworks sold at auction are by male artists.” Empowering change through creativity is very important. However, waiting for equality delays positive progress. Bravo and kudos to the uncompromising vision of Gutfreund Cornett Art and Whitney Modern Gallery. Time’s Up!
RISE: Empower, Change and Action! at Whitney Modern Gallery in Los Gatos from July 19th-August 31st, 2018.