Must See Principle Gallery Exhibit: The Expedition and Beyond

The Three Fates, 30"x40", oil on panel, by (c) Terry Strickland
The Women Painting Women (WPW) blog started out as a research project by Sadie Valeri that engaged the interest and support of Alia El-Bermani and Diane Feissel. Now, Terry Strickland's painting called "The Three Fates" (to the right) captures these women as architects of something greater than themselves. It also gives us insight that we may be audience to an important point in art history. But WPW has also already outgrown it's original blueprint. It has become a story of collaboration and unexpected community with many surprises as the events unfold. 

One major moment in this story was when twelve of these talented women came together for a 2010 figure painting retreat in Charleston, South Carolina. They lived and painted together for a week while their work was exhibited nearby at the "Women Painting Women" show of over 40 female painters at Robert Lange Studios. Given that most of these women didn't know each other before the journey makes this story even more compelling. (read Sadie Valeri's account of it here with blog posts by other participating artists at the end) 

Alia describes the week with awe: "I don't think any of us expected how profoundly we would be impacted by the expedition." Diane adds, "The different things that we each took away from the experience run the gamut." 

Alia explains that she was personally moved by meeting other artists she respects, including Catherine Prescott who, like Alia, is married to another artist. "Seeing how she has thrived, illustrated for me that a life in art is not a short-lived thing. It is sustainable! Art and life are experienced together over a lifetime." This wisdom gave Alia confidence that in her later years, she will still be just as passionate as she is now about creating and being around art with the people she loves.

You need only look at the feelings of quiet isolation reflected in Alia's painting called "Space Between"   (an image of a solo woman sitting quietly, hands folded, wearing white in a window showing the cool and empty winter landscape outside ) to understand how important these personal changes and connections are to an artist.

In addition to their profound discoveries, these women also enjoyed simple shifts that can influence an artists' work. For example, Diane Feissel reports that "One artist discovered her love of oysters on the trip and has completed many paintings about oysters since."

Where’s the Tabasco? 12″ x 16″ oil by Cindy Procious
You'll see this range of influences in the current exhibit at Principle Gallery, 208 King street in Alexandria, Virginia. The opening reception is Friday April 13th, 2012 from 6:30-9:00pm. The exhibit continues through May 15th. "The Expedition And Beyond" A Group Show of Thirteen Women Artists (click here to purchase the catalog) is a unique and one time opportunity to see the art these participants have created as a result of their experiences together. As the show's subtitle explains "these artists continue to be challenged and inspired by each other".

So, this is more than just an exhibit.  

The complex web or artistic influences and interactions among artists is often invisible to outside observers. Yet, we can sense that something special has occurred. This is your opportunity to be audience to this important unfolding story. The personal connections between these artists is just as exciting as the work itself. When Sadie Valeri began exploring the impressive art of female painters, she couldn't have imagined what was going to happen next ... so none of us can predict where this will lead.

At least we are fortunate to recognize a little piece of artistic history as it happens. 

Participating Artists:

Alexandra Tyng – Narberth, PA
Alia El-Bermani – Cary, NC
Catherine Prescott – Harrisburg, PA
Cindy Procious – Chattanooga, TN
Diane Feissel – Philadelphia,
Linda Tracey Brandon – Phoenix, AZ
Mia Bergeron – Chattanooga, TN
Rachel Constantine – Philadelphia, PA
Sadie Valeri – San Francisco, CA
Stefani Tewes–Laguna Beach, CA
Terry Strickland- Pelham, AL
Katherine Stone – Duncan, BC
Shannon Runquist, Charleston, SC

Catalog available:

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