This past summer, I was lucky enough to visit the National Gallery in London. Scattered throughout are thousands of artworks, and after walking through just a few of the rooms, I began to feel overwhelmed by looking at the portraits, like I was seeing my own fragile humanity reflected back to me. The subjects all looked beautiful, young, and vibrant, but of course, they’ve all been gone for a long time. So many of the subjects were women, nearly all painted with classical Grecian figures, and I have to wonder if they were pleased with their portrayal by the mostly male artists. Surely there would be some noticeable differences if the artists had been women.
Three current artists certainly believed so when they started their blog in 2008 called “Women Painting Women.” They are Sadie Jernigan Valeri, Alia El-Bermani, and Diane Feissel, and their goal was to find and promote other women artists working in the figurative art tradition. Their hard work paid off when, two years later, the Robert Lange Studio in Charleston hosted a juried exhibition titled “Women Painting Women,” in which more than 50 artists participated. From those 50, a smaller group formed of 14, and they spent one week in residency outside Charleston “taking on technical challenges as well as finding a space to voice their concerns and hopes as women making art in the 21st century.” Then, in April of 2012, another gallery, this time the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA, hosted “Women Painting Women: The Expedition and Beyond.” Its complete success has led to yet another show which will open September 20, 2013. According to the press release, “The goal of this show—as with the group’s past shows—is to expand the collective sense of what a woman is and means in the realm of art. Each artist has been asked to invite one female artist to exhibit alongside them, thus multiplying the power and vision of the group twofold.”
“Women Painting Women: (R)evolution”
September 20- October 18, 2013
Opening Reception: 6:30 pm- 8:00pm, September 20, 2013
208 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Keep scrolling to see some of the paintings that will be on display.