Monday, February 4, 2013

Women Folk Artists

 Folk artists come in all shapes and sizes and their task has always been to decorate utilitarian items or create works of art that reflect a folksy, homespun quality.

Generally, men were responsible for folk art placed upon outdoor items, such as weathervanes, tool boxes, etc. Traditionally, women were associated with folk arts that were related to the home life. These included quilting, sewing, etc. Today’s artscape has expanded the role of women folk artists.

The American Folk Art Museum’s current exhibit, (title) “Women’s Studies” is a tribute to women who have fought to have a presence in the art world among male artists.

Who is she? Stacy C. Hollander  chief curator and director of exhibitions writes, “The late twentieth century has seen great strides for women working within visual mediums …in film and art.” 

This show represents the work of four artists who have come together to celebrate women’s perspective. The two female artists, Nellie Mae Rowe and Inez Nathaniel Walker, focus on women having different shapes and personas. Most frequently men portray women in mainstream art, and these women chose to redefine the portraits of women through a female point of view.

About the women folk artists:

Nellie Mae Rowe is a Georgia native, 1900-1982. Her colorful work reflects Nellie as a spiritual and cultural woman recognized during her lifetime as an African American female artist.

Inez Nathaniel Walker lived in poverty and her artwork reflects her time in prison where she created portraits of other inmates. Her life spanned 1911 to 1990 and overtime she became a well-known folk artist.

The folk artists, being self-taught, have interesting techniques. There is very little of the ‘fine art’ tone and the primitive quality of the works can be reminiscent of Picasso. The original and unique works on display are not cookie-cutter style. The application of several mediums in each piece creates texture that adds depth.

About the exhibit:
Women’s Studies runs through May 26, 2013.
2 Lincoln Square, Columbus Avenue at 66th Street
New York City.

Communications intern Danielle Flores contributed to this post.

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