Women Modernists take the spotlight in "Our Own Work, Our Own Way

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Women Modernists take the spotlight in "Our Own Work, Our Own Way
Adele Lemm, Still Life. Oil on canvas, 32 x 38 inches.

SPARTANBURG, SC.- Our Own Work, Our Own Way champions a roster of female artists, notable—and quotable—women whose aesthetic achievements transcended convention and invigorated the South’s modern milieu. Dating between 1932 and 1998, several of the objects showcased have roots in international innovation, such as those entries created by Anni Albers, Elaine de Kooning, Fannie Hillsmith, Pat Passlof, and Susan Weil, all of whom were influenced by the Bauhaus-based curriculum of Black Mountain College. Other works—including Mary Callery’s whimsical dog sculpture and Dorothy Kohlhepp’s Cubist nude—are the clear result of European instruction, or instead pay homage to African ancestry, as seen in works on paper by Margaret Burroughs and Loïs Jones. Prevailing modern American trends are reflected in the energetic abstractions of Judith Godwin, Lee Hall, Edith London, and Adele Lemm, as well as a Color Field investigation by Alma Thomas. Didactic material for the exhibition includes photographs of and meaningful quotes from the artists represented.

On view at TJC Gallery (154 West Main Street, in downtown Spartanburg) from February 12 to April 17, Our Own Work, Our Own Way is curated by Susanna Johnson Shannon and Carter Lee Johnson. The daughter and daughter-in-law, respectively, of Johnson Collection founders Susu and George Johnson, the curatorial collaboration underscores both a familial and corporate commitment to documenting the careers of Southern women artists. Our Own Work, Our Own Way is presented in honor of the historic milestones being observed in the United States this year, including the centennial of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment guaranteeing women's constitutional right to vote as well as the two-hundredth anniversary of Susan B. Anthony's birth in 1820.

On Thursday, April 16 at 6:30pm, TJC Gallery will host a gallery talk led by Dr. Melissa Walker, George Dean Johnson, Jr. Professor of History Emerita, Converse College. A part of the monthly Spartanburg ArtWalk, the event is free and open to the public.

Hailed by The Magazine Antiques with having staged a “quiet art historical revolution” and expanding “the meaning of regional” through its “exhibitions, loans, publications, and institutional partnerships,” the Johnson Collection seeks to illuminate the rich history and diverse cultures of the American South.

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