Original Visions

Museum exhibit focuses on women's art

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Six women artists whose careers span a quarter century will be featured in the upcoming McMullen Museum of Art exhibition, "Original Visions: Shifting the Paradigm, Women's Art 1970-1996," from Jan. 27-May 18.

The exhibition opens with a reception and panel discussion on Sunday, Jan. 26, from 2-5 p.m. which will feature the six: Agnes Martin, Janet Fish, Mary Beth Edelson, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Pat Steir and Carrie Mae Weems.

The approximately 20 works of painting, sculpture and photography in the exhibit reflect different visual concerns and show how artists' works develop and change over an extended period. Their diverse styles include abstract painting, still life and figures, sculpture and use of folklore, and personal and fictional narrative.

Janet Fish's oil-on-canvas painting "Snowstorm" is among the pieces to be included in the exhibit.
In addition, a catalogue featuring original essays and interviews with the artists by several University faculty members will serve as a companion piece for the exhibition. Museum Director Nancy Netzer said "Original Visions" thus reflects the museum's aim to serve as a locus for interdisciplinary work among faculty.

"This is another exhibition that calls upon the unique resources of the Boston College faculty," she explained. "The purpose is to look in a new way at the role of women in the arts and the relationship to feminism. 'Original Visions,' we feel, takes a wider approach than has been used in the past."

Among those contributing essays to the catalogue were Museum Curator Alston Conley, who helped organize the exhibition, and part-time faculty member Katherine Nahum (Fine Arts). The interviews were conducted by Conley, Prof. Marianne LaFrance (Psychology), Asst. Prof. Lisa Cuklanz (Communication), part-time faculty member Mary Armstrong (Fine Arts) and Exhibitions Coordinator and Publications Manager Jennifer Grinnell.

"The interviews, focused by the faculty's individual research interests, will provide primary source material to accompany the works being displayed," Netzer said. "They contribute to the knowledge and understanding of women in the visual arts and their role in recent art history."

Several special events will be held in concert with the exhibition, including a weekly film series during February organized by Prof. John Michalczyk (Fine Arts) and sponsored by the Film Studies, Black Studies and Women's Studies programs.

The series will begin Feb. 4 with "Double Burden: Three Generations of Working Mothers," and continue with "As I Remember It: A Portrait of Dorothy West" on Feb. 11, "Leona's Sister Gerri" on Feb. 18 and "Defending Our Lives" on Feb. 25. All films will be shown at 7:30 p.m. in Higgins 307.

The museum also will feature a smaller display of works by Fine Arts Department part-time faculty members Sharon Sabin, Lei-Sanne Doo and Tina Feingold. Their inclusion is meant to serve as an encouragement for more women to teach fine arts at the collegiate level, Grinnell said.

The museum is open to the public from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon-5 p.m. on weekends. Admission is free. For more information, call ext. 2-8100.

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