Women Picturing Women: From Personal Spaces to Public Ventures will be on view February 6 - June 13, 2021 at Vassar Colleges Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center
Women Picturing Women, curated by Patricia Phagan, studies the key themes that emerged when selecting only images of women by women artists. In this exhibition from the permanent collection, women artists from the seventeenth century to the 1960s frequently communicated the idea of an intimate or sheltered enclosure such as a room, studio, or garden, even though these women participated in a more public arena to show or even make their work. Other women artists relayed the idea of venturing into a public place such as a street or an office, or into the more public, intellectual world of a narrative found in religion, mythology, or social critique.
The exhibition looks at works through these private and public lenses, with the circumstances of the artist, her training, and the content of the work in focus. Portraits and domestic scenes appear often. Home-centered settings and situations, including views of mothers and children, proliferate. Idyllic, invented landscapes, mostly of the here and now, appear, where artists placed women in a calm or a fantastic natural world. Mythological, religious, and socially critical works are seen less often, while documentary photography spurred a veritable movement among women artists in the twentieth century and is represented here with several examples.
The thirty-nine works from the collection of the Loeb Art Center are organized by subject, including: Portraits: Intimate Appraisals; Idyllic Landscapes: Comfort and Security; Domestic Scenes: Private and Personal; Narratives: The Stimulus of Ideas; and Documentary Photographs: Into the Streets.
Women Picturing Women ends just before the 1970s, when the feminist womens movement began casting a brilliant light upon art made by women, both historical and contemporary. The exhibition receives support from the Friends of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center Fund.