Celebrating Women in Art

Women in Art

In a large studio tucked behind the DAC Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles, a group of women have been gathering weekly to participate in a series of workshops mixing coffee, art, and conversation. The theme of these meetings is empowerment; more specifically, how female power manifests in each of the participants’ lives.

During a workshop on heroines, a woman finishes a drawing based on a photo of herself sporting a blonde wig styled after Farrah Fawcett’s famous hairdo. She looks confident, strong. She reads a poem about escaping an abusive relationship; she explains that seeing Fawcett in The burning bed gave her the strength to get out.

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Workshop participants | Photos by Allison Stewart
Workshop in session | Photos by Allison Stewart
Female Heroes Workshop: Making a Zine | Photo by Nat George
Female Heroes workshop: Making a Zine | Photo by Nat George

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One by one, participants talk about the women (real or fictional) who have inspired them: Wonder Woman, Maya Angelou, Susan B. Anthony, Ellen DeGeneres, the goddess Hera, Yoko Ono… the list is diverse and at times surprising. The poems are heartbreaking, hilarious, and raw; the drawings range from minimal to intricately detailed.

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Workshop participant Gloria from the Downtown Women's Center | Photo by Allison Stewart
An artist shows off her hero, Helen DeGeneres | Photo by Allison Stewart

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Held on Friday the 13th, the aptly-named “Female Grotesque” workshop had participants play a game called Exquisite Corpse, where three artists randomly collaborate to create a single female figure. Using the same sheet of paper but concealing their work each time, one artist drew the head, the second drew the torso, and the third drew the legs. When the final pieces were revealed, the oddly synchronistic results spoke to an intuitive connection between the women.

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"Female Grotesque" workshop | Photo by Allison Stewart
“Female Grotesque” workshop | Photos by Allison Stewart

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Other workshops in the series focused on movement and improvisation as a catalyst for spoken word, as well as creating large artworks from personal journals. The process was inclusive, collaborative, and focused on deeply personal histories to develop drawings, collages, zines, and performances exploring female power in its many guises.

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Improvisation and spoken word workshop | Photos by Allison Stewart
Improvisation and spoken word workshop | Photos by Allison Stewart
Journaling workshop | Photos by Malado Baldwin
Journaling workshop | Photos by Malado Baldwin

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Conceived and curated by the Association of Hysteric Curators (AHC)a trans-generational group of women who meet biweekly to discuss contemporary feminism in art, the project strives to bring diverse voices into the conversation by reaching out to populations traditionally marginalized by the art world.

In addition to AHC members, the workshops were composed of participants from the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC), which is exclusively dedicated to serving the needs of homeless and very low-income women in the Skid Row community. In a separate series, AHC adapted the workshops for a group of artists from ECF Art Centers who live with developmental disabilities.

The resulting works will be featured in a multifaceted exhibition at DAC Gallery in honor of International Women’s Day.

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Left, presentation and discussion. Right, participants reviewing artwork | Photos by Nat George, Allison Stewart
Left, presentation and discussion. Right, participants reviewing artwork | Photos by Nat George, Allison Stewart

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Supplemental content for the exhibition was sourced from existing mixed media pieces, paintings, drawings, photographs, videos, and performances by AHC members.

An opening reception for the Female Power exhibition will be held on Thursday March 12th, from 7-10PM at DAC Gallery, coinciding with the Downtown Art Walk. As AHC’s inaugural show, the event marks the official launch of the group after its inception in the fall of 2014. Further programming will be announced through March and April, such as poetry readings, spoken word and live performances by participating artists.

Exhibiting Artists: (DWC) Monia Calhoun, Rachel Cowles, Gloria McKinney, E’vet Thompson, Pamela Walls; (ECF) Wilbert BrentSean Flores, Jose Hernandez, Paolo Miranda, Deveron Richard, Chris Romero, Juan Pierri, Victor Prieto, Jussi Wayne, Jose Zamora; (AHC) Virginia Arce, Malado Baldwin, Rachel Finkelstein, Nat George, Isabelle Lutterodt, Meg Madison, Mary Anna Pomonis, Cindy Rehm, Allison Stewart, Guita Tahmassebi.

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DAC Gallery presents: Female Power, an exhibition conceived by the Association of Hysteric Curators.
DAC Gallery presents: Female Power, an exhibition conceived by the Association of Hysteric Curators.

Female Power

DAC Gallery
431 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

March 12 – May 1, 2015
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 12th 7-10PM
Coinciding with the Downtown Art Walk

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About Association of Hysteric Curators
HystericCurators.tumblr.com and Facebook.com/HystericCurators

The Association of Hysteric Curators (AHC) envelops a fluid, evolving, trans-generational group of women who gather bi-weekly to share in a discussion around contemporary feminism and the historicity of the term. We seek to explore notions of the feminine and the presence of gendered articulations through a non-hierarchical structure based in dialogue and exchange. As we honor the lineage of feminist models, we dare to envision a future of human equality, knowing we must interrogate the customs of NOW in order to enable conditions for change.

About the Downtown Women’s Center
DowntownWomensCenter.org

The mission of the Downtown Women’s Center is to provide permanent supportive housing and a safe and healthy community fostering dignity, respect, and personal stability, and to advocate ending homelessness for women. Founded in 1978, DWC is the only resource in Los Angeles that is exclusively dedicated to serving the unique needs of homeless and very low-income women in downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row community.

About DAC Gallery
DACGallery.com

DAC Gallery is a contemporary art space in the heart of Downtown L.A.’s Gallery Row. Our exhibitions focus on mid-career local and international artists, while bringing attention to a community of individuals whose works are rarely presented to mainstream audiences. The DAC Gallery is adjacent to the ECF Art Center, an adult program of the Exceptional Children’s Foundation, which provides ongoing training in the field of visual arts to adults with developmental disabilities. Founded in 1946, ECF is a nonprofit organization that improves the lives of young children, students and adults with special needs so they can reach their greatest potential. Visit ECF.net and Facebook.com/ConnectwithECF

DAC Gallery
431 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013 | 213.627.7374
DACGallery.com | info@dacgallery.com
Gallery Hours: Mon-Fri 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM, or by appointment. 

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