Investigating the Female Gaze in Happily Ever After at Main Line Art Center

By Tiffany Mercer-Robbins on Sep 27, 2017

Sabra/SJ © Glynnis Reed 2015

October 2 – 29, 2017

Artist talk and opening reception: Fri., October 13, 5:30 – 8:00 pm

2017 Digital Artist in Residence Jenny Drumgoole debut presentation 

DESIGNPHILADELPHIA featured event

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Panel Discussion: October 26, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Happily Ever After and the Female Gaze: Philadelphia 

Women Artist Trailblazers – Then and Now

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Portfolio Review with Main Line Art Center’s 

Artistic Advisory Board: October 20, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

 

HAVERFORD, PA (August 29, 2017)-Main Line Art Center investigates the female gaze, modern   femininity, and contemporary challenges to women’s rights with Happily Ever After, an exhibition of works by female artists running October 2 through October 29.

 

Curated by Amie Potsic, Executive Director & Chief Curator of Main Line Art Center, the show features the work of artists Aubrie Costello, (Philadelphia, PA), Jenny Drumgoole, (Philadelphia, PA), Jes Gamble, (Philadelphia, PA), Erica Zoë Loustau, (West Grove, Pennsylvania), Mari Ogihara, (White Plains, New York), Glynnis Reed, (Egg Harbor, NJ), and Emily Smith, (Philadelphia, PA). From  self-defined vantage points of power, these women artists address the human experience through a female lens in the 21st century – a post-feminist era rife with demands for a new feminism. Addressing pre-pubescent characters, trans and female identities, emotionally charged language, and complex female forms, a single definition of woman is defied. In today’s fairytale, Cinderella is breaking the glass slipper and “happily ever after” remains elusive. A free artist talk and opening reception will be held on Friday, October 13, from 5:30 – 8:00 pm at Main Line Art Center, and starting at 6:30 pm, Aubrie Costello will be doing a live installation that will carry throughout the evening. 

 

Taking inspiration from the majesty and strength of samurai armor as well as the vulnerable sensuality suggested by women’s undergarments, Mari Ogihara creates ceramic chastity belts and female figures alluding to corporeal desire and implied violence.  Directly confronting the emotional impact of violence against women, Emily Smith’s paintings reveal the psychological and physical trauma of being attacked by a male stranger processed through paint, fabric, and memory.  

When A Man Decides to Hurt You: Existential © Emily Smith 2016

Jes Gamble uses photography to document performance and fiber based works that explore an emotional journey from fear to empowerment, all the while referring to the inescapable history of female experience and the act of mending to build human connection. Celebrating the authenticity of female kinship, Glynnis Reed’s photographs meld confident female and transgender subjects with natural imagery to create auras of complex spirituality.  Influenced by the natural landscape, her girlhood home, and architecture, Erica Zoë Lostau creates site specific installations of repeated shapes on geometrically arranged lines of mono-filament seeking a sublime level of illusion and metaphor.

 

Imagining what would happen if the sexual awakening of puberty were averted, Jenny Drumgoole’s videos present her alter-ego named Soxx who turns traditional women’s behavior on its head by throwing parties for sanitation workers, eating pudding for hire, and running for Mayor of Philadelphia.  As if applying punctuation to the same city, Aubrie Costello’s silk graffiti speaks to women’s physical and emotional struggles, the power of language, and unrelenting natural elements. 

 

The artists in Happily Ever After resist and embrace the traditional trappings of women’s beauty and identity while rewriting urban legend, redefining women’s work, and re-forging paths to power. In doing so, they not only actualize the female gaze, they stare you straight in the eye. 

 

In conjunction with the exhibition, Main Line Art Center is proud to present the lecture “Happily Ever

 

After and the Female Gaze: Philadelphia Women Artist Trailblazers - Then and Now” led by Cindy

 

Veloric, MA, research assistant at the Philadelphia Museum of Art,  Artistic Advisor at Main Line Art Center, and independent art historian.  Veloric will explain an extended series of circumstances particular to Philadelphia that enabled a number of “firsts” for trailblazing women artists. In the context of Main Line Art Center’s exhibition Happily Ever After, Veloric will also lead a panel discussion with women artists in the show (Aubrie Costello, Jenny Drumgoole, Jes Gamble, and Emily Smith) looking at the female gaze and politics of influence in their work today.

 

Terasu/Kumorasu © Mari Ogihara 2016

 

Main Line Art Center is the community’s home to discover, create, and experience visual art. The mission of Main Line Art Center is to inspire and engage people of all ages, abilities, and economic means in visual art through education, exhibitions, and experiences. Committed to increasing the visibility and accessibility of art, the Art Center presents innovative exhibitions and events in the community, including Panorama: Image-Based Art in the 21st Century, a Greater Philadelphia-wide celebration of the photographic image and digital media. Main Line Art Center’s educational offerings for all ages, abilities, and economic means span from traditional to contemporary, and are all held to the highest level of excellence. In 2015, Main Line Art Center received the Commitment to Cultural Access Award from Art-Reach for the Center’s Accessible Art Programs for children and adults with disabilities. Additionally, the Art Center grants over $10,000 in need-based scholarships annually. Last year, Main Line Art Center engaged 21,000 people through classes, exhibitions, and Summer Art Camp, and touched the lives of over 78,000 through Exhibitions in the Community and festivals across the Philadelphia area. Main Line Art Center is located at 746 Panmure Road in Haverford, behind the Wilkie Lexus dealership just off of Lancaster Avenue. The Art Center is easily accessible from public transportation and offers abundant free parking. 

As the oldest design festival of its kind in the country, DesignPhiladelphia highlights the work of thousands of local designers, architects, and creative professionals to demonstrate Philadelphia’s reemergence as a 21st-century city shaped by thoughtful design, collaborative business practices, and community engagement. Over the course of ten days each October, places such as universities, cultural institutions, civic associations, city agencies, retailers, manufacturers, and startups across the city participate in over 100 engaging events including panel discussions, fashion shows, participatory workshops, studio tours, book signings, professional development classes, design exhibitions, and imaginative celebrations. 

For more information about Happily Ever After, please visit www.mainlineart.org or call 610.525.0272 X 116.  

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