Art Review


Many of the city's most prominent women artists are brought together in the Ladyfest Out West Art Exhibition at Andenken Gallery (2110 Market Street, 303-292-3281). The show is the art component of the larger Ladyfest Out West, an event that includes concerts by acts with names like Vox Feminista and workshops on things such as do-it-yourself menstrual pads. (See the Ladyfest story in Summer!) Yes, it's that kind of thing. But men are welcome, even if the target audience, according to the festival pamphlet, is women and transgendered individuals.

The exhibit was organized by a committee made up of Andenken co-director Malia Tata, Sunny Johnson, Toshimi Ichiki and Lauri Lynnxe Murphy. To fill out the show, the four committee members invited a score of women artists who they felt were among the most accomplished in the city. A second exhibit open to those who reflected the spirit of Ladyfest -- though perhaps not the spirit of the fine arts -- is installed in the Mercury Cafe (2199 California Street, 303-294-9281). In a sense, this other show was also put together by the committee, because they were the ones who decided what would be segregated from the main attraction at Andenken.

The only artist in this quartet of show organizers is Murphy, who is represented by "foxy," a grid of nine panels upholstered with cloth, the center one sporting evocative pendulous shapes covered in fake fur. Soft materials are often used to make feminist points in art, essentially because they reflect and comment on the tradition of women as seamstresses. Another artist subversively using what once was called women's work is Gail Wagner, whose compelling sculptures are made from crocheted yarn and anodized steel. Also making comments on domestic life -- in the pantry and not the sewing room -- is Viviane LeCourtois, who pickled and canned bizarre things like the bubbles from plastic bubble wrap.

The exhibit is sprawling, owing to the gallery's enormous space, and is wide-ranging in its inclusions, the inevitable product of the many cooks who worked on this particular broth. See for yourself before it closes on June 28.

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia