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Exhibition: How to Be a Feminist Artist opens Feb. 3

What exactly does it mean to be a feminist artist? And is the gender question over, or is it just beginning? Through artwork and interviews, How to Be a Feminist Artist: Investigations from the Women’s Art Institute reveals what is on the minds of women artists working today. The exhibition opens Feb. 3, 2014 at the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery, Visual Arts Building, St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Ave, St. Paul, Minn.

Curators Elizabeth Erickson and Patricia Olson, associate professor of art and art history, present the depth and range of contemporary women artists as they struggle to understand and connect with their studio process, their audience, history and theory, among other issues.

Every June since 1999, women artists from Minnesota, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana — and as far away as Iraq — have brought their questions about art making and being a woman artist to the Women’s Art Institute. Over the years, instructors Elizabeth Erickson and Patricia Olson have noted emerging themes that concern contemporary women artists. Distilling these themes into seven über questions, this exhibition presents eleven artists — all past participants of the Women’s Art Institute — whose work examines and illuminates these questions:

  • How do I keep working in the studio, using my artistic skills and materials to express my intentions?
  • How can I unlock my toolbox and truly express my authentic creative voice?
  • Who is my audience and what do I want to show them? What does success look like for me?
  • Where can I find a supportive community? How can I support others?
  • What does it mean to have a woman’s body and make art? Is the gender question over or just beginning?
  • Is feminism a conscious practice that I bring to my art? Do I have a responsibility to historical and contemporary women’s art?
  • What is good, bad or beautiful? Who decides? Who cares?

The participants, whose ages range from 24 to 57, include Minneapolis-St. Paul based Hend al-Mansour, Rachel Breen, Kat Corrigan, Nicole Drilling, Camille Gage, Carolyn Halliday, Sarah Kass, Laurie Phillips and Karen Wilcox, as well as Anna Garski (San Francisco, Calif.) and Paige Tighe (Los Angeles, Calif.). Media ranges from painting, sculpture and fiber, to artists’ books, video, installation and performance.

This exhibition is based on a book in-progress of the same name being written by Olson and Erickson about the innovative pedagogy and transformative vision of the Women’s Art Institute.

Key event dates

Exhibition: Feb. 3–March 23

Artist Reception: Saturday, Feb. 8, 6–8 p.m.

Book In-Progress Reading: Featuring Patricia Olson and Elizabeth Erickson, Wednesday, March 12, 7 p.m. in the Visual Arts Building Lecture Hall.

Related content:
St. Kate's welcomes nationally recognized Women's Art Institute

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Jan. 13, 2014 by Sharon Rolenc

See also: Arts, Faculty, Liberal Arts, Students