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Modern Venus

Note from Headmistress Jill: We have special guest writers this week! Jamie Ford and Emily Loy wrote this piece for our Modern Venus art show. I think they did such a fabulous job curating the show and writing this description of it, that I thought I'd share it with you.

Throughout the course of time, women have graced canvases and been carved out of stone, but have not always been responsible for dictating their own stories. The role of women, transitioning from subjects to key players, has been one of slow development throughout the history of the art world. The past has been observed, recorded, and shared from the male perspective. That is not to say that men haven’t, in fact, been pivotal key players. Rather, that women have, until more contemporary times, been kept on the bench, without much recognition for their contributions. Moving forward, the place in this art world for women has and is continuously shifting and growing. Where they were once only muses, women are now also critics, curators, and creators.

Many strong and powerful artistic women infiltrated the male dominated sphere of art by means of camouflage; posing as men for the chance to create. Some women even sold their work under male pseudonyms. While these women would never receive praise for their talents by name, their work was able to receive validation and stand strongly with the work of their male counterparts; a mild but pivotal victory in the female artists’ journey.

Modern Venus was created with this history in mind. Our intention was to highlight female artists by giving them a platform to share their stories. The call to artists was open ended, not wishing to restrict the artists by requiring specific thematic or conceptual parameters. From the beginning, the goal was to present women’s art, observing the natural themes that would emerge.

Within the submitted works, we found an overwhelming amount of introspective and contemplative pieces. These artists carry an awareness of a woman’s place throughout art history. Their body of work demonstrates the reclamation of the female body from the male gaze. Not only having created work with strong conceptual content out of a variety of materials (many formerly dismissed as decorative arts and crafts); these women have also confronted issues, both personal and social, within each piece; thus creating an even more unique and dynamic worldview. These artists, as key players, have shown the viewer the world through their eyes; complete with feelings, experiences, fantasies, and a perspective that is fully female.

Eventually, the controversy of female as artist rather than subject will subside. However, it will take every key subject to become a key player in the artistic world. Although, broken down every day, barriers and dividers are still in place. Whether you are looking at your local art scene or the Louvre, a disparity still exists with regard to recognition and success. With exhibitions like Modern Venus celebrating and encouraging female artists, we can contribute to this ongoing dialogue for female acknowledgement and body reclamation. To share these works of art with each and every viewer is a privilege. To call ourselves one of them makes us proud.

We were featured in We are Wichita's blog in Parker's Picks for June 30, 2017 Final Friday recommendations!

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