Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 5th 2014 Contents B38
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt October 5, 2014
According to North American art critic
Jerry Saltz, one of the big things
wrong with the art world involves
In a recent article published in Vulture online
magazine, Saltz noted that, "simply being a
woman artist is still a revolutionary act. And
getting one s work shown continues to be met
by enormous inbuilt resistance."
Saltz was responding to what he observed
in the pages of the September issue of Art-
forum, a publication that is arguably a key
voice in art around the globe. He looked specif-
ically at the magazine s advertisements by
large galleries and saw that only 15 per cent
of them were for solo shows by women. Saltz
insists this is a trend and cites evidence of
Of course, women have been and continue
to make and show works of art but, using
Artforum as an indicator, Saltz says: "The
magazine is telling us that the top two-thirds
of the art world are mired in self-perpetuating,
self-replicating sexism: More art by men is
shown and sold in large galleries because more
art by men has been shown and sold in large
Saltz refers to what he calls "the art-world
Establishment" with a capital E but there are
many art worlds and establishments in various
local contexts with their politics, which can
overlap with international concerns. Here in
the T&T art establishment, a revolutionary
move has been in play over the years to increase
the visibility of women artists--- especially in
a context where, for example, the National
Museum and Art Gallery appears to have
acquired more works by men for its permanent
The Women in Art organisation, which was
founded in 1996 by artist Fraulein Rudder, is
a space deliberately carved out for creative
women in T&T. With a membership of over
200 women, the organisation provides avenues
for the display of diverse forms of visual art.
It also hosts workshops and grants trophies
and ribbons to artists in such categories as
most improved and most outstanding artwork
in mixed media, among others.
The group s 17th annual juried exhibition
opened on September 8, with works by 23
women. The show presented an array of media
including watercolours, acrylic, oils, ink,
graphite, glass tiles and wax. Ann Stapleton s
animated brushstrokes and Ayodele Roseman s
more restrained and flat application of pig-
ments provided pleasing visual counterpoints.
Pat Farrell-Frederick s piece Stones was a
stimulating consideration of the potential dia-
logue among fabric, rocks, thread, buttons
and other found objects.
Other works offered a window into daily
experiences. Candice Sobers The Good Life
suggested that bath time can be a luxury in
today s fast-paced existence and Stacy Phillips
Granny is Taking Her Out gave an opportunity
to reflect on the role and influence of family
matriarchs and the quality of relationships
between older and younger generations.
Through her use of architectural fragments,
Leona Fabien s Bygone Glory considered a loss
of history and memory.
The various pieces reinforced women as
contributors to an expressive language that
can touch viewers on emotional and intellectual
Yet, with some high notes in the show, the
works as a whole pointed to another big thing
Jerry Saltz sees as being wrong with the art
world: the matter of shows and works being
Many pieces were too safe in this latest
exhibition. Images of seascapes, sunsets, birds
and flowers, for example, did not challenge
expectations and present new ways of seeing
them. Indeed, there should be room to show-
case and encourage emerging skills but accom-
modation for expanding visions and approach-
es must also be insisted upon.
The Women in Art organisation is a worth-
while space and engine for motivating women
to participate in a practice that informs the
way a society thinks, feels and responds to
currents of living and being in the world.
However, part of the revolution must involve
moving beyond commonplace boundaries to
explore and engage new territories of under-
standing, experience and articulation.
A revolution against safe art, though, is not
only for women. It also requires creative men
who are willing to take risks.
It is reassuring to know that Women in Art,
a group dedicated to nurturing and promoting
artistic work, holds a seed of possibilities.
The 17th annual Women in Art exhibition
closed on September 20. The show was held
at the Gallery at Fine Art, corner Warren and
Rosalino Streets, Woodbrook.
of gender in
A women's revolution continues...
The Yellow Poui by Ann Stapleton. PHOTOS: MARSHA PEARCE
Fretwork by Ayodele Roseman
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