The pandemic continues to alter the art exhibition, opening, and talk experience. However, venues are increasingly adapting to new modes of communication. Covid-19 and systematic racism can’t stop freedom of expression. Art will lead the way!
Friday evening was the Art Works Downtown Artists’ Symposium! From the website: “What inspires artists to create? Where do their ideas come from? How do they do that? Join us—via Zoom—to learn about art straight from the source. The virtual Artist Symposium will feature micro-presentations from AWD exhibitors and studio artists while giving audience members a chance to join the conversation using the chat function. The variety of artists and event pace offers a delightfully insightful experience.”
Program Manager Stan Gibbs flawlessly facilitated the discussion and Executive Director Elisabeth Setten shared organizational insights. Artists Tatyana Britkina (Tanya), Melanie Lan, Dave Getz, Anne Wolfe, Anne-Marie De Rivera, Bernell Loeb, Joanne Harwood, Monica Bryant, Kathy Pallie, Tom Kirk, and myself shared backgrounds, practices, and discussed exhibition artworks.
Juror Christine Koppes (San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art Curator and Director of Public Programs) selected my artworks WOMEN, BYE PATRIARCHY BYE, and WHY CONTROL MY BODY AND VOTE? for the 100 Years of Freedom exhibition. Art Works Downtown: “100 Years of Freedom honors the centennial anniversary of women’s right to vote in the United States with artwork that explores the concept of freedom. This exhibition brings together diverse expressions of freedom, from depictions of important historical and contemporary figures and iconic symbolism to personal interpretations and celebrations of art as an act of freedom. Many of the artworks are politically driven and aim to deepen public discourse around important subjects such as women’s rights, immigration, and climate change. 100 Years of Freedom reminds us that the fight for equality and freedom in this country continues.”
WOMEN description: My art practice investigates symbols of influence and power that impact perception. At least twenty-five women have accused President Donald J. Trump of sexual misconduct. Trump’s presidency has faced a Women’s March, the #MeToo movement, and a resistance uprising. Custom return address labels have been repurposed with the word “WOMEN.” As evidence stacks and women organize, Mr. Trump can’t hide from his actions and the truth.
BYE PATRIARCHY BYE description: A custom sliding sign typically indicating a business room in use has been repurposed altering its function. 2020 is the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment allowing women the right to vote in America. The Arial font was co-developed by pioneer designer Patricia Saunders. President Trump was greeted with the Women’s March, confronted by sexual abuse victims, and ultimately ignited the #metoo revolution. Sexism is interwoven into systemic discrimination and progress (aka “equality”) feels like oppression to the privileged. Women will continue to disrupt power structures and reclaim equality.
WHY CONTROL MY BODY AND VOTE? description: A custom embroidery represents how sexism is interwoven into structures of power. 2020 is the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment allowing women the right to vote in America. President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have systemically hindered women’s rights and choice. The Handmaid’s Tale is a real possibility if religious doctrine becomes law-limiting options. Women, not politicians, should control their bodies.
The Artists’ Symposium was a rare glimpse into a diverse group of artist practices. In “normal” times, in-person art openings can lack meaningful discussion without structure. The online format provided a platform for equal opportunity to share insights! Bravo to Art Works Downtown!
100 Years of Freedom, Art Works Downtown, San Rafael, CA, March 6 – June 12, 2020.