The Artists Archives presents Majority Rising in celebration of National Women’s Month. Majority Rising is part of a regional gallery collaboration of exhibitions organized by Lakeland Community College. The opening reception will take place at the Artists Archives on Thursday, March 12 from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. Majority Rising will run in the AAWR gallery through Saturday, May 2. This exhibition is curated by figurative painter, Judy Takács, who is also included in the show. This show is a reflection of female artists of the Artists Archives who have used women as their primary subject matter over the course of their careers. The artists included in the show are: Judy Takács, Kathleen McKenna, Lee Heinen, Marsha Sweet, Shirley Aley Campbell, and Marilyn Szalay. Judy Takács is widely known for her ultra-realist portrait paintings and her provocative Chicks with Balls series. She not only curated the show but painted each of the artists included in the exhibition. Each of these portraits will make their debut in Majority Rising. Kathleen McKenna decided to use Majority Rising to pay homage to writer, Malala Yousafzai by painting a work inspired by her story. McKenna explains how she was inspired by Yousafzai , “The models for my painting, three girls in my neighborhood, represent what Malala was willing to die for. As I observed Amelia and Zoe, twins, and their friend Emma walking home from school together, riding bikes, and challenging their older brothers in kickball, a painting took shape in my mind’s eye. Together and individually my models had a strong and colorful presence that I wanted to capture. While the painting was in progress, Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize.” Lee Heinen will have paintings from her American Family Album Series. Heinen describes this series, “In today’s digital world, photo albums are quickly becoming a thing of the past. My intent is to have these very material paintings tell a story of passing generations similar to an old fashioned American family album.” Many of Lee’s paintings in this series deal with what is typically viewed as women’s traditional role within the family structure. Marsha Sweet’s art was affected by her experience as a single working mother of three girls in the 1970’s and 1980’s. This experience inspired her to begin making prints of women she considered extraordinary. “These focused personalities had made it through the tough stuff of life with pluck and determination. I wanted to reveal their lives as inspiration to young women as real possibility for their lives. I had come of an age in the 1950’s and had seen and experienced gender discrimination, and felt powerless.” Shirley Aley Campbell’s works feature a number of what Judy Takács calls, “fascinating folks who live beneath the radar of conventional society.” Campbell typically chooses gay and transgendered people as her subject matter. This came about when a close family member came out and inspired Shirley to explore and except alternative gender identities. Marilyn Szalay, a recently archived artist who passed away in 2012 will have her graphite compositions included in the exhibition. Szalay’s skills in this medium far excel master artists. Throughout her career she drew self-portraits, and portraits of family, friends, and other acquaintances, mainly women. The portraits have detailed dreams with a surreal feel to them and are frequently lifesize in scale.
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