Behind 'Of Women, By Women'
Show curator Wendy Horwitz with canvas from the exhibit by Magda Love
At SOLD we’ve been excited about tonight’s 'Of Women, By Women' opening for a while, having heard the concept a few months ago from first-time curator and fellow art photographer Wendy Horwitz (@love.from.nyc). The 18 all-female participants are a diverse group including born-and-bred New Yorkers, Latin Americans, and Queer artists with topics as broad as social justice (LMNOPI) relationships (My Life in Yellow) Floral motifs (Surface of Beauty) and many representations of women, including Alice Mizrachi, Shiro and Lexi Bella.
Although we know them from their street art, these women are artists in every sense of the word, making canvases, sculpture Some will bring work that inspired their murals, like Sara Erenthal, while some are slated to present a completely different style, like Jilly Ballistic and My Life in Yellow. The lineup includes:
Alice Mizrachi • Butterflymush • Chinon Maria • Dee Dee • Isabelle Ewing • Jilly Ballistic
La Femme Cheri • Lexi Bella • LMNOPI • LOVEMKM • Magda Love • My Life in Yellow
Nora Breen • Sara Erenthal • Shiro • Surface of Beauty • Swoon • TOOFLY
Wall hanging underway the day before the show.
Why is it important to support female artists?
'Although women artists have been involved in the making of art throughout history, their work, when compared to that of their male counterparts, has been often obfuscated, overlooked and undervalued. Prevailing stereotypes about the sexes have caused certain media, such as textile or fiber arts, to be primarily associated with women, despite having once been categories, such as ceramic art, in which both men and women participated.
Women in art have been faced with challenges due to gender biases in the mainstream fine art world. They have often encountered difficulties in training, traveling and trading their work, as well as gaining recognition. Beginning in the late 1960s and 1970s, feminist artists and art historians created a Feminist art movement that overtly addresses the role of women especially in the Western art world, how world art is perceived, evaluated or appropriated according to gender. Moreover, it explores the role of women in art history as in society.' - Wikipedia.
You could say street art is an even more male-dominated world, with female artists fighting for wall space and opportunities with male street artists, graffiti writers and local painters. And in today's political climate, perhaps it's more important to highlight women's talent and strengths more than ever before.
Previewing tonight's work while Wendy was setting up the show:
Pieces by Dee Dee, Shiro, Lexi Bella, Chinon Maria, La Femme Cheri and TOOFLY
SOLD's Sarah Sansom sat down with Wendy to find out how the show was conceived, from an initial discussion at 17 Frost, the Brooklyn Gallery where SOLD held our initial launch party, to getting it done on the last day.
Sarah Sansom: What inspired you to become a curator?
Wendy Horwitz: In the summer of 2018 I was having lunch with a friend and he said "Wouldn't it be cool if there was a show with all women street artists." Then he said "You should curate it!" I had never considered being a curator before that moment, and even then I thought "Nah, not me! What do I know about curating an art show?" But he planted the seed and once I started researching the artists, this whole thing took on a life of its own! It became a passion project that challenged me and brought me a lot of joy. Once it picked up momentum and I saw it could actually be real, then I never slowed down and had to see it through to its conclusion. I truly can't wait to see it all come together in the gallery!
SS: How did you choose artists to feature?
WH: I spent a couple of weeks combing through Instagram looking for female street artists. I screenshot over a 100 artists and noticed a theme emerge. Several artists painted women or expressed themselves from a distinctly female perspective. I whittled down the list keeping only those who fit this theme. Then I decided it would be easier logistically to just work with local artists. Due to space constraints I had to limit the number of artists in this debut show but there are so many women artists - locally and globally - who fit this theme that perhaps there will more "Of Women, By Women" shows in the future!
SS: What have you learned along the way?
WH: I have learned that when I am passionate about something, I will give it my all until I see it throughout to its conclusion. This process of turning an idea into reality required a lot of time, dedication, patience, tenacity, preparedness, trust, creativity, and learning how to not overthink, amongst other things.
SS: How did you decide to partner with The Storefront Project?
WH: I met with a few galleries in early 2019 but, for a variety of reasons, they just weren’t the right fit for this show. I was determined to find what I deemed "the right space”. I was having lunch one day last spring with Sara Erenthal when I brought up the challenges I was facing. She asked if I had considered The Storefront Project. I was familiar with gallery, but hadn't thought about it for this show. Ss soon as she mentioned it, I thought, ‘Yes!’ That is the type of space I had envisioned. She mentioned it was owned by a woman - Gina Pagano - and that was the clincher for me. I knew I wanted the show there. Sara made the introduction and I had a great meeting with Gina that week. She told me the gallery was booked through December but I didn't see that as a problem. It was worth the wait, and here we are!
SS: Are there any unique challenges to putting together an all-women show?
WH: Not at all. Actually, I have experienced the opposite of a challenge. I have met with overwhelming amounts of enthusiasm, love and support from each artist. It has been a wonderful experience working with these women.
As an taster for the show, here are recent works on the street from several of the featured artists :
Jilly Ballistic painting at her Pride wall with Homo Riot at the Second Avenue Mural, June 2019.
‘I was floored by Wendy’s enthusiasm; her passion for ‘Of Women...’ is genuine and she’s giving the artists a lot of room for expression. It feels like this show is more than just an excuse to sell work. I honestly believe it’s a space for street artists and fans to celebrate this gender in this field.’ - Jilly Ballistic, Artist.
Painting at Welling Court Mural Project, and recent wheat paste work in Freeman Alley, NYC.
We asked LMNOPI about the new work she has in tonight's show, which she described thus:
'The painting is a song for the forests of northern California, my old home state. As I immersed myself into painting her, I was attempting to process the grief and devestation I am feeling about the loss of these ancient groves to climate chaos fueled fire storms & extending all the way back to those men, hundreds of years ago who saw fit to decimate the old growth forests without a care for the legacy they left for future generations. The rawness I am feeling is nearly unbearable. The lines of topography merge with her face as a way to show our interdependency with the earth.' - LMNOPI, Street Artist, Printmaker and Illustrator.
My Life in Yellow:
The artist's distinctive sticker message, and painting at Underhill Walls in Brooklyn, 2018 and 2019.
‘I adore Wendy and really connected with her concept of having women create their artistic vision of being a woman. What it means to live in our bodies, mind and soul.’ - My Life In Yellow, Artist and Poet.
Painting at Underhill Walls, and her work at 'One World Our Children' a 2,640 at sq.ft. mural celebrating unity, strength and hope at 5 World Trade Center.
‘What appealed to me about this show is I believe female representation in the arts is critical especially in the urban landscape. In NYC right now there are incredibly talented women who are creating powerful work, but there needs to be more support for this community and bringing us together to highlight the work we do to empower the female narrative is a wonderful thing.’ - Chinon Maria, Vermont born-and-raised Artist with Columbian heritage.
Support this fantastic show by coming out tonight. Many of the artists will be present to talk about their work in person. Put on that puffer coat and pull up!
And wait, there's more! SOLD is hosting a Panel Discussion on Tuesday, December 17 at 7pm, curated by Wendy Horowitz, moderated by our Editor Erica Stella, with guests: Chinon Maria, La Femme Cheri and Isabelle Ewing. Come by!
"OF WOMEN, BY WOMEN”
Opening Reception: Thursday December 12, 6-9 pm
Duration: December 12 - December 22
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 1 pm to 7 pm
Where: The Storefront Project, 70 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Wendy Horwitz: @love.from.nyc