The Weber Gallery is hosting the opening reception for the Women Work Exhibition on January 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. that is free to the public. The exhibit itself will be up in the gallery from January 18 until March 22.
The reception will have free food and beverage catered by Chef Charlie Owen and is supported by the Kentucky Foundation for Women. According to the gallery’s website, the reception will be “a sensory feast for the palate, eyes, and ears, dominated by a smorgasbord of color, texture, and visual variety from ten outstanding and very different women.”
The actual exhibit will feature ten artists (who will be present at the reception), each representing one of nine artistic media: Elmer Lucille Allen-ceramics; Julie Baldyga-pastels; Charlotte Browning-ceramics; Katherine Corcoran-sculpture; Mary Craik-fiber; Wendy Currier-pen and ink; Debra Lott-oil; Sarah Lyon-photography; Judy Mudd-watercolor; and Madonna Wilson-wood. The artists are any age from in their 20s to their early 80s, which Carol Mueller, the director of Weber Gallery, said was on purpose.
“We wanted to illustrate and demonstrate, I guess literally illustrate, to demonstrate that you can’t definite women and you can’t define feminism and that all women are valuable and all have something to contribute; we thought this would be a more legitimate demonstration of the diversity of women. We really wanted to showcase the beauty and value of women,” Mueller said.
The name of the exhibit, Women Work, also helps get the message across, according to Weber Gallery’s website. “How do you interpret the phrase ‘Women Work?’ Is it a statement that women work hard? A noun phrase meaning the work done by women? An exclamation that women work—as opposed to other things that just don’t? Almost as hard to interpret as ‘feminism,’ isn’t it?”
Mueller agreed. “To me, if I had to pick an interpretation, I would say that it is an emphatic statement–that women work in today’s society and that it would fall apart without us. ‘Celebrate the differences’ would be my message. Women still try to fit themselves into the societal image, and we’re pushed into it, for better or for worse, by cultural biases and stereotypes.We deliberately chose a title that is so ambiguous because that is the nature of women.”
Madonna Wilson, one of the ten featured artists, said she saw it as the works by women representing the working woman. “I’m really excited that the Weber Gallery decided to portray women artists, and that women are showcased. This is good for us,” Wilson said, looking forward to the event. “I like being around strong women that are artistic and talented. And it’s fun to talk to [the artists] about what they’re working on and what they do, whether or not they’re professional or recreational artists, because I haven’t met most of them. I’m more of a hobbyist myself.”
Wilson is putting several pieces in the show, including a jewelry box, a set of bamboo sushi boards, a window piece containing art glass, and a craftsman-style clock. “What I really like about [the clock] is that I actually made the clock face. I made a template and printed it out on parchment paper,” Wilson said. Her window piece with art glass, she said, represents the fact that she has done glass work as well as woodwork.
The work of little girls will also be featured in the show, with pieces ranging from pictures of flower bouquets and beloved teddy bears, to one particularly interesting piece for a little girl, according to Mueller.
“There is one with bright colors that has an American flag in the background with an Army woman and a Navy woman–the little girls aren’t taking this lightly; they have strong opinions on what it means to be a woman,” Mueller said. “You can’t put what it means to be a woman into a compartment.”