On September 12 my husband and I made the 6-hour drive to Youngstown OH to attend the opening reception of "inspiring Figures" at the Butler Institute of American Art. I know it sounds self-serving to say I was inspired by an exhiit that includes my own work, but I have to spread the word and say this was one of the most exciting shows I've been to recently, for several reasons. First, the artwork, by 30 living artists (ten invited and 20 juried) and ten historically significant artists, was impressive in its quality and variety: second, this was an unusual show in that it showcases the work of contemporary and traditional realist (or representational) figure painting in a museum venue; third, although women are drastically under-represented in museum collections, this was a show solely of art by women; and last, the concept of mutual inspiration that underlies this show is different from the concept of linear "legacy."
Inspiring Figures is the brainchild of the Cecilia Beaux Forum of the Portrait Society of America, and it was a good five years in the making. It is an exhibit that explores the roles of American women artists as innovators, sources of inspiration, and mentors.
Here is a list of the artists in the show: Leslie Adams, Carol Arnold, Rose Bartolini, Cecilia Beaux, Isabele Bishop, Colleen Browning, Wende Caporale, Mary Cassatt, Ellen Cooper, Grace DeVito, Marina Dieul, Ellen Eagle, Cynthia Feustel, Rose Frantzen, Nancy Guzik, Lily Harmon, Jane Lund, Sherrie McGraw, Mary Beth McKenzie, Nicole Mone, Kay Polk, Catherine Prescott, Danielle Richard, Lenka Rubenstein, Kate Sammons, Laura Sanders, Leona Shanks, Rhoda Sherbell, Sharon Sprung, Laura Tilden, Alexandra Tyng, Dawn Whitelaw, Patricia Watwood, Mary Whyte, and Lea Wight
Here is my painting: Claude and Pamela Frank, oil on linen, 52" x 48"
Some photos from the opening. . .
And this is how it looked hanging on the wall.
Leslie Adams with her portrait of artist Michael Shane Neal.
Catherine Prescott with her life-sized work Legacy: Portrait of Val
Here I am with artists Jane Lund and Wende Caporale.
After the opening, Nancy Guzik, Rose Frantzen, Lea Wight, Chuck Morris (Rose's husband) and Leon Shanks stand on the steps of the Butler.
A toast at a nearby cafe.
Rose Frantzen drew quite a crowd as she talked about her work and work process.
Marina Dieul was not able to make the opeing but her work Aenor won the Grand Prize.
Ellen Cooper won Second Place for her portrait Judy.