With its new juried exhibit, Studio & Gallery wants you to think about what “WOMAN” means.
Artist and former Durango resident Elizabeth Somers was tasked with paring down the field of artist submissions from about 147 to 23 pieces for the show, which will kick off with an opening reception and awards ceremony tonight at the gallery.
A first-time juror, she said it was an eye-opening experience.
“It was a huge challenge. It kind of knocked me because I felt really responsible,” she said. “As an artist, I know it’s tough when you get rejected, but I really tried to be hard-nosed about it and what I thought really was contemporary, important stuff. It was very challenging, thought-provoking for me as an artist. It was educational and it was emotional.”
Part of what made the assignment so challenging, Somers said, was that the gallery purposely kept the “WOMAN” theme open to interpretation. But it was a challenge she chose to go big with and move the conversation of “WOMAN” and what that means.
“It was really, really tough because the theme was so all-encompassing,” she said. “I was looking for images that I thought push it a little – well, not a little, quite a bit. I didn’t want the standard images of women that have been around for so long – the reclining nude, the very feminine-looking woman – I really wanted things that pushed it politically and artistically.”
Somers said that as an “old feminist,” it’s important to push the boundaries of what “woman” means, not just for this particular show, but in society as well.
“I think it’s so important for women right now, especially younger women coming up, to know that you don’t have to be just skinny and pretty,” she said.