As you walk to into The ODE Gallery’s current exhibition, The Female Spectrum: An Evolution of Feminism, there is a haunting, yet, intriguing presence. The exhibit, curated by Linda Ferrer, Executive Director of Art in Suburbia, showcases seven powerful female artists whom all have one goal in mind— creating dialogue about the past, current, and future struggles women have and may face in their lives. While the subject matter might seem intimidating, the exhibition carefully unravels the nature of feminism at its essence.
Upon entering the space, visitors will be greeted by Elena Brunner’s Big Baby, a large-scale charcoal work on paper. The dark and somber gesture used by Brunner reflect her passion and greatly compliments the fragile state of the woman being pictured. The presence of fingerprints within the work gives it a unique ‘feel’ among the other pieces. The work is a reflection of coping with body image.
Further down, we find Anne Plaisance’s work which highlights symptoms of the female condition, misogyny, and the seriousness of such issues. Plaisance, a renowned visual artist and humanitarian, who has exhibited around the world, depicts traditional imagery with a contemporary twist. Her powerful works are inspired by the beauty industry, politics, culture and misfortune. Her “Born to” series reflect the burdens some women face since the day they are born due to societal expectations and environmental conditions. Plaisance’ aim is to engage her audience in conversations about taboo subjects such as rape and abuse.
Directly across from Anne Plaisance, one will find five beautiful and unique works by Stephanie Todhunter. The interdisciplinary artist uses vintage dolls, spray paint, plaster and alcohol inks to capture a “lost in limbo” feeling. The works create a nostalgia of American female conventions that draws the viewer in for a closer look. The haunting dolls’ vibrant colors are dulled by the plaster as if it were a metaphor to the ‘ageless’ pursuit by women imposed upon by societal beauty standards.
Continuing through the space, the viewer finds five digitally collaged pieces by Jessica TranVo. The Female Spectrum, being her first exhibition outside of college, reflect her own anxiety, as she states, inducing ‘self-expression of her female identity.’ The vintage feel of her works form eye-pleasing and dream-like compositions that bring the viewer to the earliest era of feminism. Symbolized by sweets and architecture, TranVo is able to manifest the perfect concoction between realism and fantasy.
Following TranVo’s work is LVF//LVX, who uses photography to express the contrast between feminists and women in general through expressions of the female body. The raw, unrated nature of her photographs reflect the psychological aspects of both seductive beauty and disappointment, reflecting on confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, and shame. Her artwork showcases the internal and emotional differences within women in regards to their bodies due to expectations and societal norms. LVF//LVX’ centerpiece is an installation that portrays censorship within the context of sexuality vs nature.
Recent Lesley University graduate, Morgan French uses the naked human form to showcase gender and the question of nudity, depicting Marina Abramovic and Ulay’s Eating with Nudes. Her rendition of Nasty Woman and the 12 layers of ink she uses makes a stand for women’s rights as embraced by the women’s march of 2017.
Lastly, The ODE exhibits Helen Jacobson, a Waltham Mills Artist, to highlight femininity through poise, silhouette, and vibrancy as a contrast to the unshakable truths revealed in women’s issues today.
The Ode Gallery’s The Female Spectrum creates a safe environment to have discussions of feminism and female identity. Through a well curated space, the seven artists merged their different views and opinions of the subjects through their powerful and unforgettable art works. The result is show emanating with energy, a reminder to all viewers that conversation is always the first step towards change.
First Friday night in July was the inspiring opening reception of a current exhibition, The Female Spectrum: An Evolution of Feminism at The ODE Gallery, located at 681 Main street in Waltham, MA,sponsored by Central Realty. The ODE's unique style as an innovative pop up gallery surprises suburban neighborhoods in the Greater Boston area, with its showcase of powerful artwork directed to highlight social and political change. Curated by Executive Director, Linda Ferrer, the theme focuses on women and female empowerment in society through different interpretations of strong artistic illustrations.
While walking around the gallery, guests were able to browse the artwork and discuss the artwork in depth with the artists. In the background, the sound of contemporary female musicians sets a mood of emotion and curiosity, magic, and embrace. The pleasurable aesthetic of twinkling lights shimmered brightened up the room and ground spotlight enhances the colors projected by the artwork on the pure white walls.
Mingling visitors were surprised to the array of delicious hors d'oeuvres and generous selection of wines and beer for those 21 and older. Halfway through the evening, Anne Plaisance, participating artist and guest speaker of the night, spoke on the importance of female empowerment in the 21st century, women’s issues, and the healing powers of art on women in transition from abusive relationships. Speaking from the heart, she enlightened the audience with the alarmingly current statistics of sexual abuse and harassment, acknowledging double standards in our society. Plaisances’ message echoed through the gallery as a call for justice.
All and all, the various pieces in the gallery challenge some of the misconceptions regarding society’s opinions of women, and the talk stressed the importance of continuing to stand up for women and their rights. The night was filled with truly creative and thought provoking energy, where each guest left with an emotional sense of the importance of bringing art into suburban areas to touch upon social issues in demand by the community. The beautiful art displayed throughout the gallery are not just about the aesthetic, but the invitation for each guest to be an instrument of change for social justice and equality.
Anne Plaisance. Stephanie Todhunter. LVF//LVX. Elena Brunner
Helen Jacobson. Morgan French. Jessica TranVo
Friday July 6, 2018 in part by Central Realty, 681 Main St. Waltham, MA