We are excited to announce that NMWA’s summer exhibitions, Super Natural and Organic Matters—Women to Watch 2015, open tomorrow! Museum staff have been busy transforming the 2nd-floor galleries to display these flora-and-fauna-filled artworks by women.
Super Natural explores the works of both historical painters and naturalists alongside contemporary artists.
Upon walking into the galleries, the spotlit Stags, by Patricia Piccinini, compels viewers into the room to take a closer look at these sparring hybrid creatures.
One Super Natural gallery displays a variety of ingenious artists’ books together with Maria Sybilla Merian’s lavish illustrations of plants and insects. Not merely beautiful depictions of flowers, Merian’s prints portray insects’ life cycles, including a graphic depiction of a spider feasting on an ill-fated hummingbird. Super Natural subverts traditional notions of women as observers, showing them as inventive and risk-taking artists.
A plethora of photographs from Janaina Tschäpe’s “Little Deaths” series appears alongside Ana Mendieta’s “Volcano” series. Both artists’ work reflects their interest in manipulating scenes of nature with the human body.
NMWA’s committee-driven exhibition Organic Matters—Women to Watch 2015 features living artists working with the subject of nature.
Organic Matters presents 13 emerging or underrepresented artists from the states and countries in which the museum has outreach committees. These artists redefine the relationship between women, art, and nature.
A recurring theme in Organic Matters is the emphasis on humankind’s effect on the environment. Goldschmied and Chiari’s photograph harkens back to Monet’s waterlillies, but presents garbage-made-pretty lilies floating in a stream. Drawings by Jennifer Celio portray an unsettling view of nature in the not-too-distant future. Mimi Kato’s digital landscape explores the presence of mankind within urban green spaces.
Large floor-based sculptures by contemporary artists Dawn Holder and Rebecca Hutchinson command visitors’ attention in the center of each Organic Matters gallery. Both artists came to the museum for the installation process.
—Emily Haight is the digital editorial assistant at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.