With a sense of exasperation, and humor, women and femme artists take on art, politics and themselves at a new juried show opening today in Santa Fe.
“It feels important to show this work,” said Angie Rizzo, visual arts curator for the Center for Contemporary Arts, “that it is being made right now while interesting things are happening in the field of art, and (it shows) what artists are doing to tackle these issues.”
The show features 52 artists under the title “Cryin’ Out Loud.”
It was conceived a year ago when a variety of sources churned emotions and lit up feminism worldwide – then-presidential-candidate Donald Trump had suggested women should go to jail if they have an abortion, then backed off the idea, long before his infamous comments about his interactions with women that showed up on an Access Hollywood video.
But no one event was cited as an impetus by the planners of “Cryin Out Loud,” which urges an emphasis on all three words: Cryin.’ Out. Loud.
Juror Micol Hebron will give a talk about the selection of the work, which came from 186 submissions, on Saturday from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at CCA.
It’s a big weekend at CCA. Also starting today, seven New Mexican photographers are featured in another new exhibit, drawn from the internationally known photo blog LENSCRATCH.
“Cryin’ Out Loud” juror Hebron is an interdisciplinary artist whose various roles include studio work, curating, writing social media, teaching and public speaking. An associate professor of art at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., her work also includes development of art-related communities.
Set in CCA’s Munoz Waxman Gallery, “Cryin’ Out Loud” offers separate sections for self-portraits, on the female body (called “Hidden Revealed”) and on the over-emphasis on the “male gaze.” Nine videos are collected under the title “Speaking Truths.”
The expression of emotion – anger, grief, happiness – is an important aspect of the show and is reflected in the title, Rizzo said.
Marcie Rose Brewer, a master’s of fine art candidate at the University of New Mexico, has two pieces selected by Hebron: “Cherokee Warriors” and “Milk.” Set to complete her degree in May, Brewer says her photographic-based work fits well in the theme of the show.
“The connection for me is that one of the images (“Cherokee Warriors”) deals directly with identity as a woman and the current political climate. I am a member of the Cherokee Nation and this work deals directly with my indigenous identity,” she said.
“Cherokee Warriors” portrays a person whose head and face is hidden with a blanket, so it’s not clear if the subject is male or female, or what ethnicity the person is, with two vintage photos of Native Americans on the wall behind. “Milk” is a photograph of a breast with a green snap-open, snap-closed plastic lid over the nipple.
“Having this artwork as a means of expression, I can take something out of the world and transform it to express my exasperation. It gives me some sort of power and control over the world,” she said.
Albuquerque artist Dorielle Caimi’s “Gals” is an homage to women damaged and dying from domestic violence, a representation dark enough that after painting it several years ago, she put it away.
But after talking to her sister about it, she pulled it out again and added a heavy coat of pink paint to the portrait of the three women, then in girlish, glittery script wrote the word “Gals.”
“Gals” is worth studying – it’s one of the paintings being used for promotional material for “Cryin’ Out Loud.”
Caimi’s work is sometimes drawn from traumatic personal experience, as well as the nearly life-long desire to make her mother laugh.
“I don’t know why pink is associated with women,” she said. “Maybe genitalia? And the ‘gals?’ Women are oversimplified and meant to feel they are just one thing – but they are deeply complex and that is scary. Owning the complexity is scary.”
Started as a blog in 2016 to recognize photographers from each state of the union, the work of seven photographers featured in “LENSCRATCH States Project: New Mexico” will open as a show at the CCA running today through July 9.
The show is curated by one of the photographers, Jennifer Schlesinger, and features the work of Michael Berman, Kate Russell, Caitlyn Soldan, Robert Stivers, Laurie Turner, Will Wilson and Schlesinger herself. The national virtual project was the brainchild of LENSCRATCH founder, artist and writer Aline Smithson to introduce viewers to new and innovative photographic work, including that in New Mexico.
LENSCRATCH, the blog, has been featuring the photographs of a different artist every day for the past ten years. For the CCA show, the featured photographers will be on hand for a gallery talk at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.