Arkansas Women to Watch 2016: Organic Matters State Tour

Dawn Holder, "Once Upon a Time in the Forest of I'm Not Sweet Enough" (Detail), 2008-2010, mixed-media installation.
Dawn Holder, “Once Upon a Time in the Forest of I’m Not Sweet Enough,” 2008-2010, mixed-media installation.

This biennial statewide tour features the work by four emerging and mid-career artists whose process and content were applicable to the theme of Nature for Organic Matters: Women to Watch 2015, the biennial competitive exhibit sponsored by the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, D.C. ACNMWA guest curator Courtney Taylor conducted studio tours to initially select the artists whose work is now featured in this Arkansas exhibit of contemporary drawings, paintings, photography, and a mixed-media installation that embody elements of Nature and can be interpreted within its historic and contemporary associations. ACNMWA is the only NMWA affiliate that sponsors statewide tours of work by its nominees for the national Women to Watch competitive exhibition program.

Katerine Rutter, "Be gentle with yourself, with your sorrows, with your anger," 2014 mixed-media drawing: watercolor, gouache, ink, algae.
Katerine Rutter, “Be gentle with yourself, with your sorrows, with your anger,” 2014 mixed-media drawing: watercolor, gouache, ink, algae.

The Arkansas selection for last summer’s national exhibit was Monoculture, a porcelain installation by Dawn Holder (Clarksville). The statewide tour features a different installation by Holder: Once Upon a Time in the Forest of I’m Not Good Enough, a 10’ X 10’ amalgam of trees, flowers, cattails, and pools made of porcelain, porcelain paper-clay, poly-fill, plaster, sugar, chocolate and butterscotch almond bark, hard candy, cotton candy, and iridescent paint. Holder is an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of the Ozarks. The tour also features an installation of twelve digital photographs by Sandra Luckett (Conway), artist and Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. Framed images in her series Sexy Puddles mysteriously capture silken fabrics in aqueous environments to suggest character and action. Artist Katherine Rutter’s mixed-media drawings combine graphite, gouache, watercolor, wallpaper, ink, acrylic, and algae to explore relationships in fictional environments (formerly of Little Rock). The watercolor paintings of Melissa Wilkinson (Bono), artist and Assistant Professor of Art at Arkansas State University, are fractured amalgamations of surreal still life compositions that juxtapose the human figure within man-made structures hinting at deconstructed associations of sexuality.

Sandra Luckett, "Sexy Puddles" (Detail), 2014 digital photography.
Sandra Luckett, “Sexy Puddles” (Detail), 2014 digital photography.

Arkansas Women to Watch 2016 is made possible in part by the Windgate Foundation and will travel to various community and educational institutions through May 2017. It premiered Thursday, December 3, at the Art & Sciences Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff, where tour curator Courtney Taylor serves as Assistant Director/Curator. Additional 2016 venues currently include: The Windgate Art & Design Building at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith (Jan 28 – Feb 25), Trieschmann Gallery at Hendrix College in Conway (Mar 3-31), The Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale (June 29 – July 28), South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado (Aug 4 – Sept 1), UALR Department of Art Galleries in Little Rock (Sept 8 – Oct 20), and the Argenta Branch Gallery of the William F. Laman Library in North Little Rock (Dec 8 – Jan 12, 2017). The 2017 venues currently include: the Stephens Fine Art Gallery at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville (Jan 19 – Feb 16), and the Arkadelphia Arts Center in Arkadelphia (Feb 23 – April 6). Additional host venues are forthcoming and will be announced on this site. Additional information about schedules and tour options is available from ACNMWA member and tour Project Manager Barbara Satterfield (barbarabdesign@yahoo.com).

Dawn Holder, "Once Upon a Time in the Forest of I'm Not Sweet Enough" (Detail), 2008-2010, mixed-media installation.

Dawn Holder, “Once Upon a Time in the Forest of I’m Not Sweet Enough” (Detail), 2008-2010, mixed-media installation.

The Arkansas Committee is delighted to continue this exhibit series—our fourth biennial Women to Watch state tour. It promotes Arkansas women artists and it gives us an excellent opportunity to contribute to the cultural life in our state. – Maribeth Frazer, President, ACNMWA

The 2015 national competitive exhibit emphasized how women artists have moved beyond historical assumptions that limited their interpretations of Nature to rendering landscapes, still life, or detailed decorative work. It and the 2016 Arkansas tour demonstrate that women artists now explore contemporary issues about, and relationships with, the natural world via unlimited form, content, and medium. – Barbara Satterfield, Tour Manager

Melissa Wilkinson, "Coiffure," 2014, watercolor on paper
Melissa Wilkinson, “Coiffure,” 2014, watercolor on paper

CURATOR’S ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Working on Arkansas Women to Watch 2016 has been a pleasure and a labor of love. I feel fortunate to have come to the project at the right time with the right theme: the opportunity to break down barriers related to gender and sexuality and confront the continued inequality in arts professions, among others, is a welcome one. It has been an absolute honor to serve as Guest Curator for this Women to Watch cycle. – Courtney Taylor