By Grace Ann Brew
Starting on Sept. 10, four female artists will present photographs, drawings, sculptures and a dance performance that reflect their own experiences as female artists, mothers and warriors. Sam Jones, Anya Antonovych, Heather Lyon and Kari Van Tine create a dialogue between the feminine and the masculine with their exhibit, “Angel Soldier Dance Sublime.”
Each artist uses both feminine and masculine elements in her work. “I believe it’s a very feminine engagement with the materials,” Jones says of her glass sculpture. “I’m using my nondominant hand to draw, and in my dominant hand I have a torch that is melting my glass rod. As I’m making the work, I’m subverting my own control at every level. What I end up doing is just surrendering to the process.”
Lyon similarly describes the process of wrapping her sculptures made of rebar (industrial steel), sequins and cloth. “The rebar is quite masculine. It’s rational, industrial and linear. Then the treatment of the surface of the rebar is much more feminine. It’s a very repetitive action of wrapping, which for me really connects to other ways of making that have a traditionally feminine approach, like knitting, sewing and binding.”
Antonovych created her photographs in a unique way. “These were all photographs that I took by accident on my iPhone,” Antonovych says. “I got really interested in them because they were very rich and sensual images. In the end they are presented in a very ordered form, and it’s almost like I’m trying to domesticate the intuitive through a presentation that is much more logical and masculine.”
While these three women’s pieces are on display at the Target Gallery, dancer and artist Kari Van Tine will perform an improvised dance in reaction to the work. As a part of her dance, she will be drawing on a 7-by-15-foot cotton paper on the floor with her body. “I will be physically tying together the relationships between the other elements in the space,” Van Tine explains. “In my role as the dancer, artist, warrior and angel, I will be mapping out and creating a lasting element of something that is actually moment to moment.”
Van Tine will begin her piece on Tuesday, Sept. 15, and will continue to add to it through the following Wednesday, Sept. 16. She uses a combination of soft, feminine dance with more aggressive, masculine martial arts movements to express the relationship between the feminine and the masculine.
“I’m teasing apart how it feels to hold the strength and power of being feminine while also masculine,” Van Tine says. “I’m at play with these elements, but while I’m working, I’m also being clear that they are distinct elements and will not be blended together.”
These female artists are interested in concepts of femininity in a post-feminist world and what it means to be a mother, an artist and a woman. Lyon says, “The feminist courses at schools taught me that there was only one way to be a feminist and that was to reject anything related to domesticity. I found that really restrictive. After I had a child, I got a lot of flak from people saying I couldn’t be a successful artist and a mother, so now I’m really trying to embrace both parts of my life.”
Jones, who had a similar experience, says: “I’m not going to apologize for having a baby and being an artist. I’m not trying to fight something here; I just want to exist. I want to be part of the conversation.”
Join Jones, Antonovych, Lyon and Van Tine in their exploration of femininity and view their representations of the female warrior by visiting the Target Gallery Sept. 10-Oct. 18. The opening reception takes place on Sept. 10, and there will be a curator talk with Anya Antonovych at 7 p.m.
“Angel Soldier Dance Sublime”
Torpedo Factory Art Center
105 N. Union St., Alexandria
Sept. 10-Oct. 18; Opening reception Sept 10, 6-8 p.m.