Urgent Museum Notice

Body of Work: New Perspectives on Figurative Painting

Two large paintings hang on a lavender wall. In the first, a dark-skinned woman stands in a white landscape, and in the other, a fence, house, and large birds float on a solid turquoise background. On the other white wall is an abstract multimedia work with houses, cakes, and patterns.
Jul 02 to Sep 12, 2010

Through the nineteenth century, Western artists were taught that the human figure was the noblest subject they could pursue. Historical figure painters most often rendered ideally proportioned bodies and drew their narrative themes from history or sacred texts. The artists in Body of Work reject the old-fashioned strictures that previously defined figure painting. Whether adapting images from past art, working with models in their studios, or rendering wholly imaginary scenes, these artists use the figure to express their unique vision of the human experience in the post-modern world. They embrace figure painting as a highly subjective means of expression, creating works of art that are alternately humorous, inspiring, and provocative.

Body of Work is the second installment in NMWA’s biennial exhibition series Women to Watch. The series features emerging or underrepresented artists from the states and countries in which the museum has outreach committees. The eight committees participating in Body of Work consulted with contemporary art curators in their respective regions to study artists who specialize in the theme of this year’s exhibition—figure painting. Women to Watch increases the visibility of outstanding artists who are working in thoughtful and inventive ways.

Artists represented include Mequitta Ahuja (Texas); Hannah Barrett (Massachusetts); Julie Farstad (Greater Kansas City); Nikki Hemphill (Arkansas); Jennifer Levonian (Pennsylvania); Kate Longmaid (Vermont); Ann-Marie Manker (Georgia); and Rose Wylie (United Kingdom).

Julie Farstad, There’s a Big Hole in the Little Prairie, 2007, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of the artist

Exhibition Sponsors

Women to Watch 2010 is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts and is generously sponsored by the participating committees.

  • The Arkansas State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts
  • The Georgia Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts
  • The Greater Kansas City Area Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts
  • The Massachusetts State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts
  • The Pennsylvania State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts
  • The Texas State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts
  • Friends of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, UK
  • The Vermont State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Additional support provided by UNION Gallery, London.