"Feminizing Permanence" Recognizes Women Artists in Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art Collection

  • MORAGA, California
  • /
  • February 05, 2020

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"Rioscape," 1962, by Sonya Rapoport (b. USA, 1923-2015). Mixed media, 37 1/2 x 26 inches; Frame 40 1/2 x 28 7/8 inches. Gift of Robert and Haley Rapoport. Collection of Saint Mary's College Museum of Art Permanent Collection. 91.3

Moraga, California— Feminizing Permanence, opening February 12 at Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art, presents forty historical and contemporary artworks by forty women artists in the Museum's permanent collection.

The exhibit recontextualizes the work, spanning centuries and cultures, to highlight a wide range of themes while collectively speaking to the contributions of women in the arts and their shared journeys towards parity. Feminizing Permanence invites visitors to consider the underrepresentation of women artists in the permanent collections of museums across the country. On view through December 13, 2020, the exhibit reception is free and open to the public on February 20 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Feminizing Permanence’s overarching theme speaks to a recent study published in ARTnews. This study revealed that only 11 percent of works in the nation’s major museum collections are by female artists. Despite awareness of women not being equitably represented, few improvements have been made in the field. Feminizing Permanence addresses this situation, inviting visitors to discover and explore a wide range of themes that connect the forty women across time, race, culture, and artistic practice.

"Feminizing Permanence celebrates women artists included in the Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art’s permanent collection despite a structure that has historically marginalized female artists. Moreover, the exhibition creates a space for dialogue and considers how this conversation has impacted and can impact our museum," shares curator April Bojorquez.

Chronologically presenting work from 1876 to 2014, three gallery spaces display a variety of artistic practices and mediums, including oil paintings, watercolors, photographs, lithographs, etchings, prints, and mixed media. The genres and subjects of art span from local fauna landscapes and stylized animal prints to portrait photography and abstract expressions.

The Keith Gallery features 19th to early 20th century California landscapes and still-lifes, including California Wildflowers, a detailed oil painting exemplifying the skills of Elizabeth Emerson Keith, the first wife of the Museum’s acclaimed landscape painter William Keith. The Armistead Gallery shifts from early to mid-20th century, introducing photography and mixed media; the work ranges from the gestural brushstrokes of Elaine de Kooning to a social documentary photograph by Marion Palfi. The Lockett Gallery leads visitors from the 20th into the 21st century, with many works created by living artists including a photographic triptych scene by Judy Dater and a large-scale seascape by Jessica Dunne. This gallery also features an interactive space where visitors can reflect and respond to ideas presented in the exhibition.

With equity and equality at the core, no one artist dominates the exhibit –each woman is represented through one artwork. Femininizing Permanence features: Alice Brown Chittenden/ Anna Kingwatsiak/ Anna Klumpke/ Annie Harmon/ April Funcke/ Barbara Kasten/ Bertha Lum/ Bertha Stringer Lee/ Beth Van Hoesen/ Carrie Anderson/ De Ann Jennings/ Diane Rosenblum/ Dody Weston Thompson/ Elaine de Kooning/ Elizabeth Emerson Keith/ Elizabeth Ginno/ Elizabeth Norton/ Georgia Crittendon Bemis/ Helen Hyde/ Helen Katharine Forbes/ Isabelle Percy West/ Jane O’Neal/ Jessica Dunne/ Judy Dater/ Karen Truax/ Kenojuak Ashevak/ Laurie Brown/ Linda Simmel/ Linna Vogel von Fogelstein Irelan/ Marion Palfi/ Mary DeNeale Morgan/ Mary Elizabeth Parsons/ Mary Herrick Paxton Ross/ Napachie Pootoogook/ Nikki Basch Davis/ Pam Glover/ Pitseolak Ashoona/ Robin Kandel/ Sonya Rapoport/ Suda House.

The exhibit, running in alignment with Saint Mary’s College of California’s 50th anniversary of admitting women to the college, is part of a larger campus-wide celebration of creative expression and recognition of women.  

Exhibition Organizers:

Feminizing Permanence is organized by April Bojorquez, Saint Mary's College Museum of Art Curator, with Kate Perdue, Curatorial Assistant. This exhibition is a collaboration with Saint Mary’s College of California, Department of Art professor, Dr. Hossein Khosrowjah, and the students of the Issues in Modern Art course.

SMCMoA’s Feminizing Permanence is a participating alliance of the Feminist Art Coalition (FAC). FAC is a platform of art and nonprofit institutions from across the United States that aims to promote feminist thought and practice as a point of departure and considers art as a catalyst for discourse and civic engagement. More information can be found at https://feministartcoalition.org.

Related Programming:  March 19 | Third Thursday | Women in the Arts: featuring The Art History Babes

Saint Mary's College Museum of Art
Saint Mary's College of California
1928 St Mary's Road PMB 5110
Moraga, California
About Saint Mary's College Museum of Art

Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art (MoA) is an educational, nonprofit resource that acts on the belief that art illuminates our lives and creates a more humane world. We affirm our institutional mission to develop the whole person. We are committed to fostering curiosity and wonder through exhibitions, collections, and programs. We bridge regional art, interests, and the world. We cultivate cultural discovery, bringing people and art together. The Museum offers free admissions and programs to all. Open to the public, Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please check the website http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/museum for related programming and happenings. Extended hours occur on Third Thursday and special events. The Museum is closed the week of Easter, April 8 through 12, 2020.

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