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Show of Hands: Northwest Women Artists 1880-2010

Whatcom Museum
Bellingham WA – Apr 24-Aug 8, 2010

Maude Kerns (1876-1965), Composition #85

Maude Kerns (1876-1965), Composition #85 (In and Out of Space) (1951), oil on canvas [Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA, Apr 24-Aug 8]

Abby Williams Hill (1861-1943), Lake Louise

Abby Williams Hill (1861-1943), Lake Louise (1926), oil on canvas. Collection: University of Puget Sound, Tacoma  [Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA, Apr 24-Aug 8]

Gail Tremblay, An Iroquois Dreams That the Tribes of the Middle East Will Take the Message of Deganawida to Heart and Make Peace

Gail Tremblay, An Iroquois Dreams That the Tribes of the Middle East Will Take the Message of Deganawida to Heart and Make Peace (2009), 16mm film, leader, rayon cord, and thread [Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA, Apr 24-Aug 8]

Show of Hands surveys over a century of artwork by women from Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. It includes some poignant examples from the history and heritage of the Northwest, and demonstrates the depth of artistic ingenuity among these women. Concentrating on artists who have contributed with distinction to the Northwest School, curator Barbara Matilsky has assembled work by 63 artists with a large range of styles, subjects, and media. The selection provides a complex visual overview of the artistic accomplishments of women in this region.

Key figures in the lineage of the Northwest art world are Emily Carr, Maude Kerns, Mary Henry and Lucinda Parker. Their artwork is represented in this show alongside pieces by lesser known women whose work has nearly been forgotten. 

Margie Livingston and Victoria Haven created site-specific wall paintings for this exhibit. A large space focuses on their biomorphic and geometric abstractions. Representational and narrative works by artists like Fay Jones and Claire Cowie communicate personal, social, historical and environmental issues while others, like Marie Watt and Louise Crow, have been influenced by Native American culture.

The cross-section of styles and media includes pieces like Imogen Cunningham’s Dream Walking (1968). This photographic image shows a woman blending into nature. Contemporary artists like Sherry Markovitz and Diem Chau use craft-based techniques and materials for their sculptures. The landscape genre is also well represented. Abby Williams Hill travelled to the Canadian Rockies where she painted Lake Louise (1926) and Harriet Foster Beecher captured scenes of the region as it appeared in the late 1800s.


Allyn Cantor

 Wed, Jun 9, 2010