IN THE COMPANY OF WOMEN AT LARGE | LNS Gallery | Review by Carmen Smith
Artists Nathalie Alfonso, Jennifer Basile, Liene Bosquê, Carola Bravo, Friday, Natalia Garcia-Lee, Jeanne Jaffe, Regina Jestrow, Loni Johnson, Karla Kantorovich,
Nathalie Alfonso, Jennifer Basile, Liene Bosquê, Carola Bravo, Friday, Natalia Garcia-Lee, Jeanne Jaffe, Regina Jestrow, Loni Johnson, Karla Kantorovich, Aurora Molina, Kerry Phillips, Evelyn Politzer, Jennifer Printz, Karen Rifas, yomarie silva-o’neal, and Lisu Vega
in the company of women art exhibition, Friday, Courtney
in the company of women art exhibition LNS Jennifer Printz
Regina Jestrow, in the company of women Regina Jestrow Pieced Landscape 7 (Annatt0 4), 2022 hand dyed fabric, cotton fabric, thread batting, and muslin 10.59.39AM
in the company of women art exhibition LNS lisu vega 10.59.39AM
in the company of women art exhibition LNS yomarie silva oneil 10.59.39AM
Nathali Alfonso in the company of women art exhibition LNS gallery
Karen Rifas, Entitled at LNS, In the Company of Women
KarlaKantorovich-Transient-Nature-in the company of women
As a woman artist I’ve always been inclined toward the philosophy that “women artist” shows do no favors for us hard-working, deep-thinking, fully creatively capable women.
In the words of Brazilian visual artist Lucia Koch, “Avoid participating in women artists shows. They are made to keep us constrained in a category, as if we are not just artists, like men are.” After all, who has ever seen a “men’s art” show? All of us certainly have, but it’s never the exhibition title or curatorial concept. In the Company of Women: At Large poses a worthy challenge to that viewpoint.
The idea to provide a group of daring artists with the freedom of physical space and community visibility making this women’s art showcase different. These women are creating a source of power from which they are thriving, and the feeling is palpable within the walls of the gallery space.
Conceived by and curated by Dainy Tapia, a local cultural practitioner and creator of ArtSeen365, In the Company of Women: At Large is the second edition of Women Artists At Large. Intentional creation of space for these artists incubates new and meaningful responses – growth easily reflected in the second exhibition. This is not the typical gallery model of art on walls; this is a movement.
One can’t help but be reminded of the Abstract Expressionists and the community they built in NYC. We’ve seen scenes in movies like “Pollack” of the glamorized male artists sitting together in their favorite dive drinking beers after a long day of painting, debating the merits of artists and the art making climate. The narrative around that community often omits the women on its forefront; and recently those fallacies have been corrected as detailed by Max Lunn’s article, “The Biggest Lie About Abstract Expressionism,” published in Hyperallergic this month. Books have been edited and new names have surfaced on museum and gallery walls. Like the ripples created by a disturbance on a still body of water, the influence of women emanates through the arts and this exhibit cannot be better timed.
The phrase At Large comes from au sens large, French for freedom from constraint. As such, the artists in the exhibit are bold and daring, their art occupies the gallery in distinct vignettes. The work utilizes a variety of media including painting, drawing, video, sculpture, fiber, and installation art. Here are some highlights from the catalog of work
(b. 1987, Miami, FL)
When “how” an artwork is created aligns with “what” is produced, a powerful synergy forms. Friday’s “Untitled (Courtney)” harnesses this magic in her figurative representation of a Black child jumping and frolicking happily. The work is drawn at life size scale on black paper with chalk, employing a reverse value scale, and is technically masterful. In the words of the artist, “To remain illegible to the dominant others’ gaze is commonly, loosely defined as a minority’s choice. This work explores the functionality of the art-historical concept of ‘opacity’ in reclaiming and preserving the privacy of Black bodies in daily life. Incorporating a black and white chalkboard aesthetic that plays on learning and teaching, the work treads between quietly resisting the direct gaze of onlookers while simultaneously being larger-than-life and impossible to ignore, as if asking to be seen.”
(b. 1942, Chicago, Illinois)
Rifas’s installation “Entitled” inhabits the focal point of the gallery filling a glass partitioned room opposite the front entrance with a wall mural of broad light on dark monochromatic pink stripes, a flag standing in the left corner boasting the monochromatic stripes and an audio recording of women’s names. Atop the flag sits a traditional looking finial ball, though in place of the golden sphere is a golden cage encapsulated globe. Crowning the finial is a gilded female winged figurine holding a torch above her head. The artist describes, “From Afganistan to Texas, women’s equality is on the line. Women still need to band together to secure their rights. The stripes on this flag represent that endless effort – the colors are pink but bold.”
(b. 1978, New York, NY)
Jestrow exhibits two art quilts made for “In the Company of Women: At Large.” The quilts reference traditional American quilt-making and patterns, but in abstract, earthy, asymmetrical format of hand-dyed fabric. “The two Annatto art quilts were made specifically for this exhibition. Annatto is a spice and food coloring agent made from the seeds of the achiote tree, native to South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, and grows in Miami. This series follows my Americana Quilt series, in which I started to explore diversity and race tensions in the US after the 2020 pandemic. The Americana Quilt was also partially inspired by the US Southwest landscape, as I experienced it during a road trip in early 2020, leading me to experiment with natural dyes. I want to keep exploring our relationship to the landscape in this new series by looking for dying elements tied to our local environment, such as the annatto seed.”
(b. 1987, Bogota, Colombia)
At first glance Alfonso’s giant drawings seems to continue a conversation with Twombly’s large scale repetitive lines and scribbles, but unlike Twombly, unseen work and emotional control are central to her practice. “I started to pay close attention to my hands’ muscle memory versus the actions and movements of the body while drawing. I wonder to what extent do I distinguish between a hand-made or body-made drawing, where my whole body is involved in the mark-making process. I detached my sight entirely from the mark and focused on the spontaneous movement of my hand over time, not relying on the result.”
Who is in the exhibition, “In the Company of Women: At Large” at LNS gallery?” 17 Miami-based women artists
What mediums shown, “In the Company of Women: At Large” at LNS gallery?” various mediums including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, video, and site-specific installations.