Heavy Metal—Women to Watch 2018

Abstract wall sculpture featuring horizontal, vertical, and diagonal intersecting lines overlaid with pieces of rounded, plated steel
Jun 28 to Sep 16, 2018

Heavy Metal, the fifth installment in NMWA’s Women to Watch exhibition series, showcases contemporary artists working in metal. The exhibition series is presented every two to three years and is a dynamic collaboration between the museum and participating outreach committees. The 20 committees participating in Women to Watch 2018 worked with curators in their respective regions to create shortlists of artists working with metal. From this list, NMWA curators selected the artists whose work is on view in Heavy Metal.

Featured artists in Heavy Metal investigate the physical properties and expressive possibilities of metalwork through a wide variety of objects, including sculpture, jewelry, and conceptual forms. Works in the exhibition range from large-scale installations to small objects intended for personal adornment; these disparate works are fashioned out of iron, steel, bronze, silver, gold, brass, tin, aluminum, copper, and pewter. This exhibition seeks to disrupt the predominantly masculine narrative that surrounds metalworking and demonstrate that contemporary women artists carry on a vibrant legacy in the field.

The exhibition features works by Cheryl Eve Acosta (Greater Kansas City Area), Rana Begum (United Kingdom), Carolina Rieckhof Brommer (Peru), Lola Brooks (Georgia), Paula Castillo (New Mexico), Charlotte Charbonnel (France), Venetia Dale (Massachusetts), Petronella Eriksson (Sweden), Susie Ganch (Mid-Atlantic Region), Alice Hope (Greater New York Region), Leila Khoury (Ohio), Holly Laws (Arkansas), Blanca Muñoz (Spain), Beverly Penn (Texas), Serena Porrati (Italy), Alejandra Prieto (Chile), Kerianne Quick (Southern California), Carolina Sardi (Florida), Katherine Vetne (Northern California), and Kelsey Wishik (Mississippi).


Large-scale, wall sculpture features enameled copper rings protruding from a white panel at varying lengths to create a wavelike pattern.

Susie Ganch, Untitled, 2010; Steel, enameled copper, and panel, 24 x 36 x 12 in.; Courtesy of the artist and Sienna Patti Contemporary; Photo by Taylor Dabney

Exhibition Sponsors

Heavy Metal—Women to Watch 2018 is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts and sponsored by the participating committees. The exhibition is generously supported by the Clara M. Lovett Emerging Artists Fund, Share Fund, the Texas State Committee of NMWA, and the NMWA Advisory Board, with additional funding provided by the Sue J. Henry and Carter G. Phillips Exhibition Fund, Marisa and Vincent Boulard, Nellie Partow, Southern Copper Corporation, and Vhernier.

Further support is provided by Acción Cultural Española, FOMA Group, and Shepherd Finkelman Miller & Shah, LLP. Special thanks to San Francisco Advocacy for NMWA for their support of the Heavy Metal catalogue. The museum extends appreciation to the Embassy of Chile in Washington, D.C., Embassy of Italy with the Italian Institute of Culture in Washington, D.C.; the Embassy of Peru in the U.S.; and the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C., with SPAIN arts & culture.

    Related Media


    Book cover features a slivers of silver form to form a textured pattern with the words:
    The Heavy Metal catalogue features 96 pages and full-color images of works by the 20 contemporary artists working in metal.

    Audio Guide

    Sixteen rectangular yellow and grey aluminum poles lean up against a wall
    Hear from the artists themselves in this audio guide that explores the processes and specific works of many of the artists featured in Heavy Metal


    Black and white still image from a video on Leila Khoury shows the artist cutting chicken wire with clippers.
    Explore this online playlist of artist interviews and studio visits with the artists in Heavy Metal.