Jennifer Hart, “Black and White #5”, Fabric batting thread and colored pencil, 32x16in, $600

Feminist Expressions: Invitational Show featuring Kentucky Foundation for Women Artist Enrichment Grantees

Review by Kaylyn Taylor

Entire contents are copyright © 2019, Kaylyn Taylor. All rights reserved.

Kayla Bischoff, in her curatorial statement of the Kaviar Forge Gallery’s exhibit of Feminist Expressions, states, “Feminism isn’t one thing.” And, to paraphrase further, neither is feminist art. This seventeen-artist exhibit demonstrates this multiplicity through an array of methods and subject matter. The various artists’ expertise in their respective media clearly articulates their unique perspectives on subjects ranging from personal to political. The unifying thread throughout this exhibit is clarity.

Jennifer Hart’s pieces “Black and White #3” and “Black and White #5”, as well as Debra Lott’s “Delusions” directly address the challenge of the “the male gaze”. Per her artist’s statement, Hart’s pieces explore dehumanization in pornography. The traditionally female medium of fabric is transformed into near relief sculptural pieces depicting nude female torsos. The images are expertly rendered in black and white and are embellished with a quilt like stitching as if drawing with thread. The otherwise flat images are given movement and depth with a curvilinear vine pattern. Accordingly, the horizontal lines are further defined by horizontal stitching, adding more depth to the image, and greater movement to the curved lines. By overlaying the impersonal, objectified torso with a subtle, delicate, organic pattern, natural energy is restored to the female form.

Debra Lott’s oil on canvas depicts multiple female figures emerging in fractured forms from a cool blue color field. The figures overlap one another, and the repetition of the form distorts the figure. Various aspects of the figures recede and blend into the field, while others dominate the foreground. The overall effect is almost a tangle of legs and arms, with floating heads. Her intention, per her statement, is to present “commentary on mass media’s portrayal of flawless, unattainable feminine ideals in magazines, movies, and music videos.” She achieves this through the use of multiplicity, fractured visual planes and rough brushwork. These elements present a vague, ever-changing quality to the image as if the figure cannot quite be defined as singular and clean.

Diane Kahlo’s assemblage “Les Desaparecidas” gives a face to the multiple female murder victims found near Juarez, Mexico over the course of decades. The grouping of four portraits with an altar gives a cultural nod to their nationality. The gold colored field that surrounds each small portrait has their names and, if known, the date of their disappearances subtly embossed within the gold elevates the image to icon status. The altar appropriately alludes to reverence. These girls are restored, honored and remembered. This piece directly addresses the misogyny that inundates the female experience.

Dijana Muminovic, “Bosnian Muslims in Bowling Green KY, 17x22in, Photography, $275

Dijana Muminovic’s photograph “Bosnian Muslims in Bowling Green, KY” depicts a group of female survivors of the Bosnian War (1992-1995). The ominous dark, the cloudy sky which fills one half of the image is offset by the colorful dress of the women, who are shown from the back as if facing the storm. The image is both tragic and uplifting. This displaced group, which has fled a war-torn country and is still seeking lost ones, is an inspiration in their ability to survive and come together as a community. As reflected in the colorful clothes, these women can be seen as bringing color back to the landscape in the wake of war.

This exhibit is a refreshing and informative departure from having to filter through the male perspective. It is relevant that these accomplished artists are women, but it is not defining. Through their art, they are inviting the viewer to appreciate their skill and contemplate their perspective as both a woman and an artist.

Feminist Expressions: Invitational Show featuring Kentucky Foundation for Women Artist Enrichment Grantees

November 30, 2018 – January 19, 2019.

Gallery Hours: Thursday & Friday 12-6, Saturday 12-4

Kaviar Forge and Gallery
147 Stevenson Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206

KaylynKaylyn Taylor is an artist and writer living in Louisville with her husband and two children. She holds a BA in English & Humanities with a minor in Art from the University of Louisville. She was formerly the General Manager for Savage Rose Classical Theatre Company.