Opening reception today at Shari Brownfield Fine Art for 'Wyoming Women to Watch'

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Opening reception today at Shari Brownfield Fine Art for 'Wyoming Women to Watch'
Leah Hardy, Effort in Understanding, 2014. Cast bronze, fabricated copper and brass, patina, prismacolor.

JACKSON, WY.- Five artists from across Wyoming are converging at Shari Brownfield Fine Art as the first stop in a traveling exhibition titled Wyoming Women to Watch. While only geography and gender connect the artists, each of the five were shortlisted for inclusion in a major exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.

Officially known as the Equality State, in 1870 Wyoming was the first in the nation to recognize women’s right to vote. 150 plus years later, Wyoming women persevere in their efforts for the state to live up to its original moniker, rather than what it’s most commonly referred to today; the Cowboy State.

In 1987 the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, DC opened as the first museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women through the arts. Nearly two decades later the museum began their critically acclaimed Women to Watch exhibition series, a collaborative effort between NMWA and state-led committees who help underrepresented regional artists gain a national stage. In 2021 a Wyoming outreach committee was formed by NMWA board member and Wyoming based arts advocate Lisa Claudy Fleischman (1958-2023). With her passionate guidance, a dozen impressive and influential women from across the state joined forces to raise the funds needed to include Wyoming women in NMWA’s exhibition in Washington, DC.

Unlike a standard group show, the Wyoming Women to Watch traveling exhibition allows each artist their own space to express their individual process and practice. Selected by Wyoming curator Dr. Tammi Hanawalt, the show honors each artist’s singular voice. From Jennifer Rife’s (Cheyenne) ephemeral land art to Bronwyn Minton’s (Jackson) undulating 9 foot ceramic installation, to Leah Hardy’s (Laramie) miniature anthropomorphized insects, and Katy Ann Fox’s (Jackson) attention to overlooked moments, we see a connection between human interaction with the natural world; likely an inspiration from living in our wild and expansive landscape. “Having my work, which concentrates on idea and process rather than product, recognized and amplified through WYNMWA has validated my vision and voice as an artist.” says artist Jennifer Rife. “Participating in conversations with new audiences about being a woman artist and the challenges presented has provided important discussions for the arts in Wyoming.”

The Wyoming artist selected to be featured in NMWA’s Women to Watch exhibition is Sarah Ortegon HighWalking, a Wind River mixed-media artist. Her oeuvre combines painting, beadwork and performance to retell narratives of modern Indigenous women like herself. Ortegon HighWalking is an accomplished artist, actress, and dancer who was also named Miss Native American USA in 2013. She performed two songs from her signature black light Jingle Dance during the opening reception at Shari Brownfield Fine Art.

The exhibition began on March 4th, and will run to May 14th, 2024, with an opening reception co-sponsored by the WYNMWA committee on Wednesday, March 13th from 5-7pm. A performance and brief discussion with several of the artists, members of the WYNMWA Committee, and curator will begin at 5:30pm. At the end of the Jackson exhibition, the show will travel to its next stop at the Ucross Foundation in northern Wyoming.

Shari Brownfield Fine Art is a boutique art advisory and appraisal firm. With nearly three decades of fine art expertise, we work with clients to provide bespoke art advisory services, including acquisitions, deaccessions, home curation, museum lending, art appraisal, and overall collection management.

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