50 Female Painters, November 2010

November 1, 5-8 pm


Sharon Allicotti, Jennifer Balkan, Helen K Beacham, Mia Bergeron, Candice Bohannon, Linda Tracey Brandon, Kerry Brooks, Ali Cavanaugh, Rachel Constantine, Michelle Dunaway…

About the Exhibit

The female form is one of the most painted subject matters of all time. Works like Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, Whistler’s Mother, Mona Lisa, Girl with a Pearl

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“This is our most ambitious show to date,” says gallery owner Megan Lange of the galleries upcoming “Women Painting Women” group invitational. Robert Lange Studios will be bringing together forty female painters from around the globe, with an opening reception on Friday, November 5 from 5:30-8:30PM at the 2 Queen Street location during the Charleston Fine Art Dealers’ Association’s (CFADA) Fine Art Weekend.

The female form is one of the most painted subject matters of all time. Works like Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, Whistler’s Mother, Mona Lisa, Girl with a Pearl Earring, and Madame X, are all considered among the most recognized paintings in history, and were all created by men.

The November exhibit at RLS, featuring a variety of paintings depicting the female form, displays a shift in notoriety towards contemporary women painters.  Starting in 1707, this historic shift began in the United Sates when Henrietta Johnston began to work as a portrait artist in Charles Town (now Charleston), South Carolina, making her the first known professional woman artist in America.

“Few people outside of the art world can name female painters, with the exception of perhaps Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe, and even fewer can name a painting of a woman created by a woman,” says Lange. “However, there is a sensitivity to the female form that perhaps a woman can only truly understand.”

The artists chosen for this show are the ones that refuse to play it safe. Those who don’t adhere to traditional painting standards and are creating truly unique works include:

Sharon Allicotti, Jennifer Balkan, Helen K Beacham, Mia Bergeron, Candice Bohannon, Linda Tracey Brandon, Kerry Brooks, Ali Cavanaugh, Rachel Constantine, Michelle Dunaway, Jessica Dunegan, Alia El-Bermani, Diane Feissel, Sandra Flood, Katherine Fraser, June Glasson, Lisa Gloria, Haley Hasler, Abby Heller-Burnham, Karen Kaapcke, Anna Killian, Sharon Knettell, Stanka Kordic, Francien Krieg, Hilarie Lambert, Lacey Lewis, Amy Lind, Francesca Marzorati, Suellen McCrary, Jazz-minh Moore, Kirsten Moran, Karen Ann Myers, Jennifer Nehrbass, Joyce Polance, Gail Potocki, Jennifer Presant, Catherine Prescott, Lee Price, Cindy Procious, Stephanie Rew, Elisa Rossi, Shannon Runquist, Tiffany Sage, Lique Schoot, Sara Scribner, Karen Silvestro, Adrienne Stein, Terry Strickland, Katherine Stone, Stefani Tewes, Sanna Tomac, Alexandra Tyng, and Sadie J Valeri.

Each painter has created one or two original works for the show.  Ali Cavanaugh’s striking frescos show a woman with striped socks on her arms. Her face is hidden, presumably because of her shyness. Mia Bergeron provides impressionist portraits that pack a lot of emotion into their small frames.

Another example, Swedish painter Sanna Tomac’s “Invisible Bond” is a 35″ x 25″ work in oil and depicts a woman wearing a shall with a swan and a tiny fox tucked within it’s safety. This is symbolic of a woman’s nurturing nature.

The group show is part of the CFADA Fine Art weekend, with events including exhibits on Friday, plein air demonstrations in Washington Park during the day on Saturday with the Charleston Art Auction to follow Saturday night. Many of the artists will be painting in the park for charity on Saturday.

CFADA is a non-profit organization and the Fine Art Weekend is designed to raise money for art programs for local schools.  For eleven years the organization has been donating money and this year CFADA’s goal is to hit $200,000 in cumulative donations. 

Digital images are available upon request.  Contact Megan Lange at (843) 805-8052 or info@robertlangestudios.com.

Architects + Artisans
Ali Cavanaugh and the Female Form

An expressionist with a streak of formalism, Ali Cavanaugh offers insights into the unexpected and recognizable aspects of life with playful and thought-provoking figurative paintings.

Winner of the prestigious Presidential Scholarship from the David Kendall Foundation, she graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design in 1995. She quickly established a following of students and devoted collectors; today her work is featured in more than 300 collections.

This month her paintings, along with those of 52 other female artists, premiered in a first-of-its-kind exhibit called “Women Painting Women” at the Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, SC.

“I was honored to have been included with such amazing talent in this show,” she said. “There’s an inexplicable bond created when one artist finds another that shares a love for the same subject matter. Imagine that times 50.”

“Women Painting Women” was inspired by a blog of the same name. When they couldn’t find an online resource for the topic, artists Sadie Valeri, Alia El-Bermani, and Diane Feissel created the online community to explore and share how other women artists are handling their female subjects.

“My muse is my daughter,” Ali said. “I have painted my husband and two sons a few times, but I truly have an insatiable thirst for painting the female form. The appeal is multi-faceted. It’s about the familiarity and self discovery that a woman finds when mothering her daughter, and the mysterious grace and beauty in the elegance of the female form.”

In figurative art, the female form as subject is as old as painting itself. Only a handful of women made names for themselves in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, but by the 1700s, women began forging a path into the art academies. Still, it wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that women artists were widely accepted by arts community.

“Loose networks of women painters existed, but nothing like what we have today through art blogs,” Ali said. “It seems like women have found an outlet where they can excel. The show was a success because it took this virtual network of amazing international talent and made it tangible.”

“Women Painting Women” has succeeded in bringing together otherwise solitary, female artists. And now they share a camaraderie that women centuries, and even decades ago, did not have. “We all had each other’s e-mail,” Ali said. “So, for weeks leading up to the show there were so many heartfelt messages going back and forth between us.”

For more on Ali Cavanaugh, go to http:alicavanaugh.com

For more on Women Painting Women, go to http://womenpaintingwomen.blogspot.com/

– Cheryl Wilder

Exhibit Images

Opening Night



Robert Lange Studios