In 2011, Feminist artist group the Guerilla Girls discovered that fewer than 4% of artists in the Metropolitan Museum’s modern art section are women. While things are getting better, statistics still show that opportunities are low for women in the art world, with women earning 29% less than their male counterparts. In the spirit of the Guerilla Girls, FFDG Gallery in San Francisco has rounded up a group of 25 international female artists to represent the 4%. They call themselves the “4%ers”: Mariel Bayona, Pakayla Rae Biehn, Monica Canilao, Claw Money, Deb, Lola Dupre, Kristin Farr, Michelle Fleck, Angela Fox, Mel Kadel, Aubrey Learner, Lauren Napolitano, Kelly Ording, Pacolli, Meryl Pataky, Emily Proud, Bunnie Reiss, Erin M. Riley, Jenny Sharaf, Minka Sicklinger, Winnie Truong, Kelly Tunstall, Nicomi Nix Turner, and Lauren YS working in various media. While their collective works share a focus on female characters, individually, they embody very different ideas about femininity. At the core of Winnie Truong’s hairy portraits (featured on the cover of HF Vol. 22), for instance, is an ongoing conversation about beauty and the grotesque, and the tension that is created when that line becomes ambiguous. Mel Kadel’s androgynous characters are usually presented enduring scenes inspired by her subconscious, here exploding into a bubble of colors. Kelly Tunstall also creates character-driven work, whose whimsical nude with big eyes has an almost classical manner about her. Each carries a personal message within her art, but this exhibit’s goal is more about what their work says as a whole: The art world is presented as a profession where women (and men) can be whoever they want to be, but is that the truth? Male or female, what is most important is that they excel at what they do. Viewers will get a chance to see just that when “4%ers” opens at FFDG Gallery on September 25th.
Nicomi Nix Turner
Erin M. Riley