Women Artists of Philadelphia Panel Recap
Exhibitions featuring Women Artists
Interview with Deirdre Murphy
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Women Artists of Philadelphia Panel Recap

Last Tuesday, we hosted a panel for six female artists of Philadelphia to share their insights about working in the art world, including Kiki Gaffney, Diane Feissel, Hollis Heichemer, Mallory Weston, Leslie Boyd, and Katherine Fraser.

These artists had diverse experiences, as reflected in their work, which ranged from printmaking to avant-garde jewelry to portrait paintings. Yet the panel also offered meaningful advice beyond the scope of creating art. By sharing their stories, the women explained the effects of gender disparity in the art world, and the challenges of becoming a full-time or part-time artist.

Being an artist is akin to being an entrepreneur, and the idealism of art does not always translate well when trying to make a living from it. However, these artists have succeeded by learning practical business skills, reaching for every opportunity they are presented with, and connecting with the community of fellow artists and gallery owners. They shared some of this wisdom with the audience, who asked questions about their inspiration, work, and challenges. While it is true that men are typically overrepresented in the art world, it is also apparent that art is often about transcending gender identities. Many of the artists expressed their intention to display a human perspective in their art, not necessarily just a female one.

Read the Daily Pennsylvanian's article here. Video recording will be live on Youtube soon. Subscribe here.

Exhibitions featuring Women Artists
*** If you want to join WIA members to see the following exhibitions on First Friday, Nov 6, email: ***
Jackie Tileston: Everything is Everything
Oct 28 - Nov 27, 2015, Pentimenti Gallery

Reception: Thursday, Oct 29, 5 - 7:30 pm
Gallery hours: Wednesday - Friday: 11 am - 5 pm, Saturday: Noon - 5 pm

Calling on the interaction of contrasting visual elements and art historical references, Tileston (Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Penn)  has created an atmosphere that plays by its own rules, while paralleling our own in a heterotypic fashion. Ecosystems in themselves, they are alive with opaque mandala-like ornamentation, trails that surface and recede on vaporous threads, murky rifts, fields of nebulous color, and landmasses built of thick oil paint. These visual structures succeed in developing a synchronized habitat of “otherness”, a place that is collectively neither here nor there. Join the Facebook event here. To learn more about the artist, click here.

Deirdre Murphy: Winds of Change
Nov 4 - Nov 28, 2015, Gross McCleaf Gallery  

Reception: Friday, Nov 6, 5 - 7 pm
Gallery hours: Tue - Sat: 10 am - 5 pm

Deirdre Murphy’s paintings investigate the complexities of relationships found in groups of birds and clusters of stars. Her fascination with avian migratory patterns and the astro matrixes of constellations have led her research to Hawk Mountain Bird Sanctuary, Haverford College Strawbridge Planetarium and Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Science. Deirdre Murphy earned her MFA degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania. To learn more about the artist, click hereJoin the Facebook event here.

Constance Cone: Landscape ~ Horizon
Nov 4 - Nov 29, 2015, 3rd Street Gallery

Reception: Friday, Nov 6, 5 - 9 pm
Gallery hours: Wed - Sun: 12 pm - 5 pm

The works featuring in this exhibition focus on the landscape with an emphasis of the horizon. In speaking about her series, Cone reflects on the blurred horizon's equivocal role in the natural composition, where it sometimes forms a tiny part of the landscape or it takes on the whole expanse in view from left to right. Cone works with soft pastels, color and mark to propel the image towards the very abstract to the more representational. To learn more about the artist (Penn MFA '94) click here.

Demetra Tassiou Panidis: Unrooting
Nov 4 - Nov 29, 2015, 3rd Street Gallery

Reception: Friday, Nov 6, 5 - 9 pm
Gallery hours: Wed - Sun: 12 pm - 5 pm

Tassiou focuses on the plight of people displaced through recent civil wars and religious conflicts, citing these heavily charged emotions to be the main influence for these paintings. The artist's sensitivity to these tragic events is reflected in the black and white mixed media paintings, that combine to transform images of destruction and human despair into abstract symbolism. To learn more about the artist (Penn MFA '94), click here.

Trudy Kraft: Avian Ancestors
Nov 4 - Nov 28, 2015, Gross McCleaf Gallery  

Reception: Friday, Nov 6, 5 - 7 pm
Gallery hours: Tue - Sat: 10 am - 5 pm

Kraft regards her paintings as a physical expression of the underlying interconnectedness of all things. As she builds her images, Kraft is aware of her indebtedness to a wide range of cultural traditions. In Japan she was exposed to time-honored, sophisticated uses of the decorative arts. African masks, textiles, and baskets have sensitized her to the interaction of pattern, surface, and texture. She is also emboldened by the luminosity of color in Thai silks and Indian embroidery. To learn more about the artist, click here.

Ellen Harvey: The Museum of Ornamental Leaves & Other Monochromatic Collections
Nov 6 - Dec 12, 2015, Locks Gallery

Reception: Friday, Nov 6, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Gallery hours: Tue - Sat: 10 am - 6 pm

On view at Locks are Harvey's latest works alongside other major monochromatic 
pieces featured in her mid-career survey publication. Harvey’s new The Forest of 
Obsolete Ornaments
is a playful taxonomy that juxtaposes sculptural casts of the 
leaf molds for ornamental architectural detailing with Harvey’s own 2d rendering of 
forest trees, evoking a late 18th century picturesque motif. This shadowboxed piece 
is paired with Shadow Ornaments, a sister painting where the ornamental leaves 
are rendered in silhouette akin to her installation at the Barnes Foundation, Metal 
To read more, click here.

Amie Potsic: Enchanted Forest
Oct 24 - Dec 5, James Oliver Gallery

Reception and Artist Talk: Nov 7, 6 pm
Gallery Hours: Wed - Fri 5 - 8 pm, Sat 1 - 8 pm

Interview with Deirdre Murphy
Deirdre Murphy is an artist based in Philadelphia. She earned her MFA at the University of Pennsylvania where she teaches as an adjunct professor, and her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute. Deirdre is represented by the Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia and Zinc Art + Interiors in Edmonds, WA.
Her website is

The Role of Gender as a Female Artist
First, Deirdre noted how gender impacts not only an artist’s studio practice but also professional life. In her own art, she embraces the “decorative” and bold colors/ decorative lines that are associated with femininity and “beauty.” Her inherent feminine gaze translates into her work. Furthermore, she notes how she chose to be a mother. This decision had a large impact on her studio life and all aspects of her professional career. “There is no ‘maternity leave’ when you are an artist,” she said. Having periods without gallery exhibitions leads to blips on one’s resume. She emphasized the challenging task of juggling being a mother, artist, and teacher.

On how women can become more prevalent in the art world
“More grants for female artists! Grants play a pivotal role in the development of artists for funding supplies, shows and more. There are few grants that are available for female artists and especially parent artists. More such grants would enable female artists who are mothers to focus on a single career and have time to work on art as well as take care of their families. It is a similar problem as mothers face in the work force. It is also important to teach female artists to consider their career professionally and to train artists in their career paths so that they are not taken advantage of as an artist.” Deirdre also believes that more women’s art should be promoted in galleries and museums.
To read the full interview, click here.

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