Opening Night for “The Project”: A Fresh Perspective

Marjorie Koun’s Creation on Opening Night

On Friday September 9th Woman Made Gallery hosted the opening reception for The Project group exhibition, juried by Mary King.  Guests also celebrated solo shows All That Also Means to See by Maria Gaspar and War Stories by Mary King.

Despite the cool and rainy weather, more than 200 art enthusiasts arrived to view the work of the 20 exhibited artists.   The show demonstrated a variety of media that was interactive, interdisciplinary, solo and collaborative.

As a Women’s Studies major and a new gallery intern, I was particularly excited to experience and participate in the opening.  Prior to the event, I was able to witness the transformation of the gallery space as pieces were arranged and displayed to highlight their individual uniqueness and beauty.  Having never worked in an art gallery before, this was my first chance to experience art in a new and different way.  It was a special treat for me to witness the guests engage with the various forms of media and interact with the attending artists. Several pieces, including Marjorie Kouns’ performance, Body as Canvas, stopped guests in their tracks.  Using paint and glitter, Kouns transformed her subject’s body into a living canvas, simultaneously preserving the act on video.  Innerspace, by Indrani Ashe and Arum Prameshwari, is equally compelling.  The installation work employs dyed cotton and tulle as a metaphor for skin, achieving the expression of an imaginary space within the human body. Walking through the work, the lifelike colors and fabrics provide the viewer with an almost womb-like sense of comfort, as if standing inside a living, breathing body.

All That Also Means to See by Maria Gaspar

Solo exhibits by Maria Gaspar and Mary King are featured in the lower gallery.  WMG’s new multimedia exhibition space accommodates Gaspar’s installation, All That Also Means To See. The time-based work is comprised of an inflating structure which inhales and exhales every five minutes.  Gaspar also presents mixed media paintings inspired by landscapes and social spaces. These paintings feature ambiguous shapes, brown blobs, and other unnamed forms that seem to recall the blurred spaces of the imagination. 

Mary King’s solo show, War Stories, depicts emotional and personal perspectives of war.  The paintings are crafted from accounts of those directly affected by both World Wars, as well as the war in Iraq.  I had the opportunity to photograph the artist while she spoke to guests about her work.

Mary King (right) discusses her work

Because of my field of study, it was exciting to witness art’s ability to force the viewer towards a critical contemplation of the social and structural forces imposed by society. The work on display addresses and explores a myriad of issues;  the standards of beauty imposed on women, the changing landscapes threatening the safety of women, the exploitation of vulnerable groups in society, the consequences of existing gender relationships, human vices and insecurities, the establishment of individual identity, and the necessity of community spaces. Overall, the work feels like a celebration of the power, uniqueness and diversity of women.

–Jenifer Mooses, Gallery Intern

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