Thirty-six female Utah-tied artists will show their work Meyer Gallery‘s walls, floor and pedestals when owner Susan Meyer opens the free “Making Her Mark: Art By Women” exhibit on Friday, during the Park City Gallery Association’s monthly gallery stroll.
The event runs from 6-9 p.m. and will showcase works from the gallery’s 20 artists alongside 16 guest artists, said Meyer.
The idea of the exhibit is to introduce established and upcoming female artists to the public, she said.
“I’ve been around for quite a while, and I’ve noticed that many of these artists are not familiar to the younger crowd,” Meyer said. “There are women that I want people to become aware of, because the very best figurative artists in the state are women. But if I took a poll, most of the names that would pop up would be men.”
Meyer had a list of guest artists she wanted to showcase alongside the artists she represents. (See box for a full list of participating artists).
“When I reached outside of the normal field of the mediums we carry, it was pretty easy to find women who were well-known and respected in ceramics, photography and mixed media,” she said. “Some come from the University of Utah, Brigham Young University and other parts of Utah.”
One of the artists is portrait, still life and landscape oil painter Galina Perova, who lived and trained in Russia before moving to the West in 1989.
Her works, which are the result of her cumulative life experiences, according to Meyer.
“Galina is one of the most important artists in the state of Utah, but very few artists under the age of 40 would know her name,” she said.
Some of the artists aren’t local, but have a tie to Utah, Meyer said.
Annie Poon, an animation artist from New York who creates her works from cut paper, is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“She has a piece in the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, and she sent a piece to us,” Meyer said. “So we’re going to set up an area for her work.”
While seeking her guests, Meyer consciously tried not to contact artists from other galleries, although one artist, oil painter Elizabeth Robbins, shows with Montgomery-Lee Fine Art, she said.
“I didn’t realize she showed down there, but the gallery was kind enough to allow Elizabeth to participate in our show,” Meyer said.
Meyer Gallery staff member Adalynne Dean came up with the exhibit’s theme, Meyer said.
“Adalynne, who is 22 years old and has her own degree in art history from the University of Utah, was very excited to suggest the show,” Meyer said. “And to be honest, I have resisted the idea of showing an all-women’s art show because I felt it implied that women could not compete with men, even though I knew their works could hang side by side.”
Dean continued to mention the exhibit, and Meyer decided to do it.
“I felt I should listen to what she’s saying and open my mind,” Meyer said. “It’s that idea of teaching an old dog new tricks.”
The reaction of artists and clients surprised Meyer.
“I loved the enthusiasm of the women, including those who are highly in demand and haven’t shown in a Utah gallery for many years,” she said. “It’s been so invigorating, and I’m getting excited about it.”
Meyer said “Making Her Mark” isn’t designed to make a political statement, because the gallery has always had a high percentage of artists who are women.
“Almost half of the artists we represent ar female,” she said. “And while women are still not the majority of artists in galleries, they are catching up to the men. And that’s a neat thing to see.”
Still, Meyer is happy to see more women who are starting to take themselves seriously as artists.
“In the past, it was rare to see women look at their art as an occupation,” she said. “Some of the fruit of that change and transition is showing up now, when you see what’s happening in many galleries.”
The art for the “Making Her Mark” exhibit will be spread throughout Meyer Gallery.
“Some of the art, like Annie Poon’s, will need its own space, because we will also have some live music performed Amanda Johnson,” Meyer said. “And there are some works that don’t go well with each other.”
While all the works will be available for purchase, Meyer said the goal of the showcase is for the public, especially young women and artists, to see how accomplished these established female artists are.
“I hope young people and aspiring artists will come,” she said. “This exhibit will, hopefully, inspire and show not only other women, but everyone the strong, capable and refined work that women are doing.”