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‘We became The Furies’

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Rage and rants churn through “Feminist Art in the Trump Era,” an exhibition at Santa Fe’s Axle Contemporary.

Jurored by famed contemporary art critic, author and Galisteo resident Lucy R. Lippard, the show runs on the exterior of the mobile art space through Nov. 3. Many of the 27 works by New Mexico artists resonate with a hopeful soon-to-be extinct disdain for the Trump era.

“Protest Patch” by Nika Feldman. (Courtesy of Axel Contemporary)

These artists worked from a galaxy of materials, ranging from photographs to collage, pop-up books, wool, clay, brass, spray paint, mixed-media and gesso. Many combine humor with personal vitriol. Lippard filtered through 165 entries for the final selections.

“I was looking for feminist statements; a few are oblique, but most of them are pretty straightforward,” she said. “I also wanted a wide range of ‘styles’ from conceptual to painterly.”

Nika Feldman’s “Protest Patch” is a silkscreen design plastered with the text “We are the granddaughters of all the witches you were never able to burn” haloed in roses.

“Hulking Venus de Milo” by Michael Darmody. (Courtesy of Axel Contemporary)

“I believe she saw that phrase on a sign at a demonstration,” Lippard said in a telephone interview from Maine.

Kristin Barendsen, Patti Levey and Lauren Ayer produced an image of a nude (and masked) woman smashing a Trump piñata. The women wrote in an artist’s statement about beating the piñata in reaction to the 2016 presidential election returns.

“As women, our bodies have been a battleground for sexual assault and self-hate,” they stated. “Two of us are queer; one is Jewish. All three of us feel more vulnerable under this aggressive and violent administration, and we feel a strong imperative to fight back and use the power of our voices. Our collective was galvanized. We became the Furies.”

“Sister” by Miranda Gray. (Courtesy of Axel Contemporary)

The Furies were a trio of Greek goddesses of the underworld who swore eternal vengeance against lying men.

Alex Fischer created a cartoon of the naked Trump back with the headline “The Emperor Had No Clothes.”

Madrid gallery owner Liz Patterson turned to environmental issues in her clay sculpture “Singing Women.” The figure laments the melting snows of global warming.

The nude female back in Isabel Winson-Sagan’s photography project “Original Face” is more nebulous. She wrote that the work represents existential questions about the female body.

“We got some nice stuff and we got some puzzling stuff,” Lippard said.

‘There’s certainly some rage,” she continued. “Certainly, women are justifiably enraged at the moment.

“Untitled (plastic cup)” by Ashley Miller. (Courtesy of Axel Contemporary)

Political feminist art has always had a sense of humor,” she said. “There were a couple of pussy hats.”

The exhibition also commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, as well as Axle’s 10-year anniversary.

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