Organic Matters—Women to Watch 2015

Detail photograph of ceramic sculpture made to look like a patch of lawn. Individual squares consisting of multiple upright blades of porcelain grass, glazed green, fit together to form a lush rectangular field of grass.
Jun 05 to Sep 13, 2015

Organic Matters, the fourth installment in NMWA’s Women to Watch exhibition series, explores the relationships between women, nature, and art. Women to Watch is presented every two to three years and is a dynamic collaboration between the museum and participating outreach committees. The 13 committees participating in Women to Watch 2015 worked with curators in their respective regions to create shortlists of artists working with the subject of nature. From this list, NMWA curators selected the artists whose work is on view in Organic Matters.

The connection between women and nature has a long history, one that is fraught with gendered stereotypes and discriminatory assumptions. The contemporary artists highlighted in Organic Matters build upon and expand these pre-existing conceptualizations by actively investigating the natural world, to fanciful and sometimes frightful effect. Collectively, their work addresses modern society’s complex relationship with the environment, ranging from concern for its future to fear of its power. Through a diverse array of mediums, including photography, drawing, sculpture, and video, these artists depict fragile ecosystems, otherworldly landscapes, and creatures both real and imagined.

The exhibition features works by Dawn Holder (Arkansas), Jennifer Celio (Southern California), Andrea Lira (Chile), Françoise Pétrovitch (France), Jiha Moon (Georgia), Goldschmied & Chiari (Italy), Lara Shipley (Greater Kansas City Area), Rebecca Hutchinson (Massachusetts), Mary Tsiongas (New Mexico), Rachel Sussman (Greater New York Region), Mimi Kato (Ohio), Ysabel LeMay (Texas), and Polly Morgan (United Kingdom).


Large, black steel birdcage held aloft by over a dozen orange and yellow songbirds in flight, tethered to the cage by wires.

Polly Morgan, Systemic Inflammation, 2010; Taxidermy and steel; Photography by Tessa Angus

Exhibition Sponsors

Organic Matters—Women to Watch 2015 is organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts and generously sponsored by its participating committees with additional support provided by the NMWA Advisory Board and the museum’s members. Support for Les Amis du NMWA is provided by the GRoW Annenberg Foundation, and support for Gli Amici del NMWA is provided by Vhernier.

    Related Media

    Online Exhibition

    Large, black steel birdcage held aloft by over a dozen orange and yellow songbirds in flight, tethered to the cage by wires.
    Learn about the artists and their investigations of the natural world in NMWA’s exclusive online exhibition, including artist statements and examples of their other work that relate to nature.

    Artist Interviews

    Read interviews with the artists by NMWA Associate Curator Virginia Treanor. The artists’ responses collected here reveal their varied influences, techniques, and perspectives.