Trifecta, held at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in NYC, brought together three international female artists who are at the forefront of a contemporary art movement re-imagining representations of women. Through an array of media Handiedan, Mimi Sholz and Sandra Chevrier use the female figure as their subject and are strong voices for a new generation of artists.
The curator Yasha Young states: ‘This exhibition addresses the fact that art created by women has been historically dismissed as craft as opposed to fine art. These restrictions have influenced the development of women in art throughout history. I would like to open doors for female artists and encourage them to step out and up’.
Yasha Young sees international curatorial collaborations to be the natural progression from her roots at Strynchnin Gallery which she founded in 1998. With over a decade of experience as a producer, Young collaborates with artists on independent projects for motion picture companies, record labels, auction houses and publishing companies. In 2013, Young conceptualized Urban Nation Berlin, an initiative of the Berliner Leben Foundation that supports artists with a strong emphasis on urban contemporary art. As the Executive Director of Urban Nation, Young has developed Project M and OneWall, programs interested in raising social awareness and reclaiming cities through exchanges between artists and communities.
Yasha comments “I think my main goal was to bring together a ‘ Leading Ladies’ group to demonstrate the strength such a show could have.
Women who have succeeded in the predominately male-dominated world of art and, most importantly, become successful due to the fact that that they have been defined by their talent rather than by their gender. Sandra broke into pop surrealism – Han works old techniques in the most intricate way with an incredible focus on modern detail – and Mimi has lifted the art of the ‘wimmel’ painting to new, modern heights.
All of these women use techniques that are very different and yet each refers, within their work, to the female subject in a critical and modern way. Critical in so much as they point out the enduring differences between the genders, and the images we as women are often forced to portray and our revolt against them, towards lasting equality.
Not with a pointy finger but with art that speaks of strength, courage and intelligence- not neglecting what makes us women in all the many, charming ways.
Women have always had a harder time breaking into the traditional world of art. From the early ages, they have been defined by the status of the family into which they were born, determining their access to leisurely activities such as painting and the crafts. This in turn has contributed to giving the work of female artists the stigma of being nothing but craft, lacking in substance. Women could not travel and hence had far less exposure to new sources of inspiration and techniques. Women of class were expected to master still-life painting as an indicator of their level of education, but not to express themselves. This approach to ‘girl’ art still exists today.
Often buyers are worried about female painters and their plans for motherhood or marriage which falsely still seems to stand for the loss of career to this day. A perfect example would be ‘ Big Eyes’- how horrid!!
These three women came for the first time to NYC and to the Jonathan LeVine gallery to show their work together and the exhibition has been curated by a woman, to show that there is this rise of amazing, talented and strong creative women across a variety of genres and countries who support each other, in defiance of these preconceived notions.
This show has been designed to encourage female artists to try and be more daring, as well as to encourage all of us to dig deeper and take another look at the next generation of leading women in art” she says.
Trifecta is a Group show featuring the works of three talented artists including Dutch artist Handiedan who pushes mixed-media collage to a higher lever. She digitally creates classic female pin-ups using ornamental components such as currencies, sheet music and her own cartoon drawings. She rebuilds these digital design into multi-layered hand cut collages that end up with a distinctive three-dimensional quality. Her pin-ups look like something between an orientally adorned femme fatale from film noir, a sexually joyful pinup from a 1950’s calendar and a tattooed rockabilly girl. Each work is a treasure trove of symbols, with a focus on cosmology, Eastern philosophy and sacred geometries.
Berlin based artist Mimi Scholz creates digital paintings that sarcastically comment on cliches regarding the female psyche and sexuality. Starting with a detailed sketch and then using a tablet to add multiple layers of colour, her compositions are printed on canvas and have an airbrushed quality that closely resembles oil painting. Known for her subject matter of ‘unpredictable women with attitude’ and often accompanied with strange creatures, her works are set in a manically imagined world where the lines between good and evil, sane and insane are blurred.
Montreal based artist Sandra Chevrier merges painting and collage in works that reflect upon the self-imposed limitations within our world and the underlying tragedy of oppressed female identity. In her series Cages, finely hand-painted portraits of women are masked with pages from comic books, symbolizing the struggle of having to uphold unrealistic expectations of beauty and perfection. By imposing these strict limitations, society is placing women in prisons of identity and asking them to become superheroes. In the greater body of her work, the images used within ‘cages’ range from scene of conflict, triumph and defeat. Often focusing on the latter, the artist highlights the fragility of the superhero, their personal weaknesses and exposes the humanity within the superhuman.
Photos courtesy of Jonathan LeVine Gallery and the Artists