Women Inspiring Through Art
Running through Sunday, May 13, 2018, The Speed Art Museum's exhibit Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism is a wonderful celebration of women.
Sunday, also Mother’s Day, is a day that reminds me of the women, like my own mother, who spoke truth in my life. We all experience moments of limitations daily. Personally, I can think of a few I experienced this past week, month and year.
Historically we can see how communities unknowingly stop THEIR OWN POTENTIAL by “staying safe” or sticking to “normal routines.” By doing this we limit long-term opportunities for both others and ourselves. There is a loss of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Moreover, the opportunity for a new voice is gone. While visiting this exhibit, I was shown how breaking boundaries brings revolutionary results.
Walking through Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism our tour guide and curator paused in front of a large portrait depicting a woman sitting on her kitchen floor. The subject in this painting casually looked out at us. "She looks very natural and personable," our curator said, "almost as if today this was a photo from her Instagram."
This exhibition displays over eighty paintings by thirty-seven artists from thirteen different countries. Entering each additional gallery, the portraits started depicting domestic settings, then children, professions, and in the final gallery were subjects of war, which let me remind you, women were not allowed to paint during this era. One particular female artist displayed, who broke the status quo, was brushed over by critics at the time. Yet, this art today is one of the greatest contributions to war paintings from the Impressionist Era.
There is much to learn from women, who during the mid-nineteenth century, became artists in their own right, and moved across the world to study in Paris at a prestigious art school. During the age of Impressionism, women had gender-based restrictions: not being allowed to vote, wear pants, or merely cross town without an escort. Yet these artists made remarkable contributions and built momentum for something radical and new.
Yet, I wonder in what ways are we holding ourselves back today? Limiting ourselves because of traditions rather than seeing the potential surrounding us. I am full of gratitude for historical lessons given by the artists displayed in this exhibit, Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism, who did not accept the norm.