Mercury 20 Gallery artists Mary Curtis Ratcliff and Elizabeth Sher have been included in the newly published Bay Area Women Artists’ Legacy Project Book.
The Bay Area Women Artists (BAWA) Legacy Project aims to both safeguard and highlight women’s contribution to Bay Area art. They believe that an understanding of the local art scene in the past 50 years requires a full examination of women’s contributions and that this possibility will be lost unless art institutions, curators, and historians join in an effort to preserve the legacy of Bay Area women artists.
The statistics are alarming. As the Guerrilla Girls and others have clearly shown, women continue to be under-represented in museum shows and collections and undervalued at art auctions. One consequence is that few women are able to afford the creation of a foundation to oversee their legacy. Institutional support is needed. BAWA has opened a dialogue on this issue. Their members have been practicing art for more than 20 years and have shown extensively. In addition, many have been active in feminist art groups since the 1970s, helping to increase the visibility of women artists throughout the Bay Area.
California Sunset, a 52 x 42 inch painting by Mercury 20 Gallery member Tara Esperanza is included in the 10th annual group show California Dreaming: Finding Beauty in My Own Backyard. The exhibition will run September 16 – December 11, 2020 at The Village Theatre Art Gallery in Danville California. The show was juried by Shelley Barry, principal at Slate Contemporary Gallery, Oakland. Initially this exhibit was planned for in-person viewing, but due to Covid 19 and the Contra Costa County health guidelines, it is now online until further notice.
Tara says…. “I am deeply drawn to succulents. I love their character. How they change throughout the seasons. The abundant varieties of texture, color, and shape. I paint large canvases of small succulents. I find interesting compositions and celebrate the beauty of the plants. I love how the succulents share space. Lean on each other, or hold each other up. Succulents bring me joy and I see them as divine in nature.
Mercury 20 Gallery member Andrea Brewster has had three sculptures accepted for the Headford Lace Project’s show in Ireland, The Space Between. The exhibition will taking place in October and will take the form of an art trail around the town with lace/artwork exhibited in various locations and curated window displays.
The history of lace is a fascinating story and one which is full of contradictions. It was and still is used to make christening gowns to welcome new born babies, but is also used to make coffin cloths and mourning veils at the end of life. Making lace was considered an appropriate pastime for ladies of high moral stature but also used to ‘reform’ women of low moral values. From a visual perspective, lace is made up of both open and solid spaces where equal importance is placed on that which does not exist, as is placed on the threads that holds it all together. Lace provided a sense of independence as women could earn a living from selling their work. However, lace is also associated with the forced labor of women living in state run institutions who worked without remuneration. Lacemaking is a traditional practice which has been embedded into the social and economic history of countries worldwide for generations. Yet lace is still used as a source of inspiration by contemporary makers who continue to innovate and progress our understanding of what lace is and what lace is considered to be. The Space Between will explore these ambiguities.
Andrea says… “I began tatting because I had seen it discussed in some old handicrafts books and I was intrigued by the process; seduced by its delicate fineness of line. I later discovered that my grandmother was an avid tatter. I began to see tatting as drawing in space with thread and knots and I questioned why tatting is, seen as a fussy, handicraft from a bygone era? Why has it, as (often) anonymous “women’s work”, become so undervalued, so unappreciated? My explorations have primarily led me to investigate three-dimensional forms in tatting. I am particularly intrigued by the underlying mathematical order found in nature, especially among corals and marine invertebrates. Although my work is improvisational, I have used these types of repeating patterns, hyperbolic geometry and logarithmic scales, as a foundation to “grow” forms out of a predictable order. I feel that tatting is experiencing something of a renaissance, brought back from the brink of extinction by the Internet, which has facilitated connection and sharing of patterns and techniques on a global scale. But, despite this renewed interest, tatting remains an under-recognized technique, and still labors under the heavy weight of its cultural reference of old ladies making useless domestic bric-a-brac. However, I feel that the time is ripe for expansion both technically and conceptually; for pushing boundaries and exploring new, uncharted territories across the entire map of tatting possibilities.