When we think of the feminine form, we may think of marble statues of Venus, or we may think of the slender bodies marketed to us on the cover of magazines. An all-woman art pop-up in Fort Worth this weekend, Girl Gaze, is giving local artists the opportunity to respond to these stereotypes of femininity and more.
Sarah Moore, who runs Neighborhood Cult productions, threw her first all-woman art show in August. Don't Call Me Baby featured 50 artists, punk bands, skateboarders and graffiti artists — fields that are usually dominated by men — and its success left her thinking there was an opportunity to do more.
“Each room has been curated from the work of female artists, accented with pale pink, peach and cream items,” Moore says of Girl Gaze, which will be held in a home. “It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, a dual ownership and rejection of the stereotypical colors of femininity, an ode to the vagina. The goal in my female-centric shows is to rewrite the female narrative and make it our own.”
The messages will vary as much as the art media. Expect nudity, broken social norms and even menstrual blood.
“Experience, skill, professionalism — all factor in and are necessary,” she says. “But primarily I look for ... a sense of bravery and openness, a collaborative attitude and how prolific and dedicated to their craft they are. Since the shows aren’t traditional, I have to ensure that the concept of the show inspires the artist and doesn’t create walls around their creativity. I also take input when curating, so ensuring that there is a good relationship that naturally, creatively builds is a must.”
One of the artists showing work this weekend is Jana Renee, whose paintings are inspired by selfie culture and body parts.
“A couple of years ago I began zooming in on specific features of the female, mainly the mouth,” Renee says. “It was sort of an inner commentary on how I was too socially anxious as a child to look people in the eye when I spoke to them, so I would always look at the mouth.”
“I tend to celebrate female sexuality specifically, because I grew up in a very conservative household and was not allowed to share that part of myself,” she says.
Renee also likes to empower her models by allowing them to choose how they’re painted.
“Typically models are at the mercy of the artist or photographer, but I find it liberating to allow the model to take the image themselves from her favorite angle,” she says. “Painting is a sensual experience of expression and confidence, so I try to share that with the model as well as the viewer.”
Along with Renee, the show will also feature 12 other women including experimental artist Lita Bush and illustrator Brie Underhill. Bush works with glass and illustrates utilizing human hair, eyelashes, menstrual blood and her own tears. Underhill sews her comics onto clothing. All of the art on view will be available to purchase.
Greenhouse 817 has sponsored the event, contributing flower arrangements to each room. They also assisted in putting the color scheme together, so the whole place will be aesthetically pleasing down to the plants.
Girl Gaze is BYOB to all legally able to drink, yet still welcoming of all ages if you want to bring the kids. There will be food, too: s’mores will be served, and the Beignet Bus will be parked out front, offering Chicory café au lait and beignets.
Girl Gaze takes place from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, at 1812 Clover Lane, Fort Worth. The event is free to attend, but a $5 donation is suggested. For more, visit the event on Facebook.