Women have longed played a powerful role in the world of art, even though not always historically recognized as such. One first century Roman writer claimed the world’s ﬁrst ever painting was made by a doting Corinthian maiden, who reportedly traced the silhouette of her lover onto a wall on the eve of his departure to sea. However, up until the 20th Century, the great majority of art created by women went unseen.
Fast forward many centuries later and much has changed. In Park City’s thriving art community, the astonishing work of women in art can be seen in large and beautiful fashion. Here is a small sampling of the unique talents, voices and perspectives of women as lovers and creators of art.
CREATING SHARED EXPERIENCES
“There’s something so magical about her painting—every time I look at it I feel happy.”
—Art Collector Cheri Beck
She just knew when she walked into the gallery that Artist Rebecca Kinkead’s work belonged in her home. It’s a story that oft en repeats with art lovers, a feeling that’s sure and strong, but difficult to describe. “For me, art is a very visceral experience,” explains Cheri Beck. Aft er living with and loving her first painting by Kinkead, she eventually acquired five more, so she definitely understands the deep connections artists can create. Using oils and wax, this artist can exquisitely capture the silent beauty of animals, and then translate her interpretation in a way that is both calming and reflective.
Kinkead describes her objective to abstract paintings just enough to allow viewers to enter a piece while leaving room for their own story, “I want my work to feel more like an experience.” Understanding the stories behind her artists’ work is central to Art Gallery Owner Maren Mullin’s focus for her gallery. Hosting collector dinners enabling artists and collectors to meet is one way she fosters their strong connections.
SHARING CREATIVE ENERGY
“Artist Kaori Takamura is particularly special to me because her pieces remind me of the historic contribution of women in the realm of textiles and handicraft.”
—Gallery Owner Susan Meyer
Times were changing fast for the small mountain mining community of Park City in the process of evolving into a ski resort mecca—that was when Susan Meyer’s parents opened the first art gallery in town in 1965. After several years of working in New York before returning back to her true love and roots in Park City and the art business, she continues to honor a deep commitment to supporting her artists. Featuring emerging and established artists across a variety of styles and genres, the majority of Meyer Gallery artists call Utah home.
Though not a local, Kaori Takamura’s art shares a unique energy and appealing vibrancy Meyer’s collectors seek. She cuts, sews, stitches, paints and manipulates her materials to create mixed media pieces that are distinctly feminine in their aesthetic, though collected equally by men and women.
DEVELOPING AUTHENTIC CONNECTIONS
MONTGOMERY LEE FINE ART
“The most profound realization of my life is that there are people I have never met who live with my art, and therefore I share with them a personal, if not intimate relationship.”
—Sculptor Sandy Scott
Translating a distinct feeling of the nobility and inherent strength of wildlife, Sandy Scott’s bold works of sculpture are at once majestic and sensitive. She has always enjoyed life as an avid outdoorswoman, and her love of nature easily shows through her art. Inspiring mountains, lakes and streams surround her studios, and she sincerely believes wildlife artists need time in the fi eld to create truly authentic works.
Scott has been a licensed pilot for nearly 50 years and explains, “I believe my knowledge of aerodynamics has been helpful in achieving the illusion of movement in my bird sculptures.” Her loyal collectors couldn’t agree more. Before focusing on etchings and printmaking in the 1970s, and then on to bronze sculptures in the 1980s, Scott worked as an animation background artist for the motion picture industry.
BRIDGING OCEANS AND CULTURES
SUSAN SWARTZ STUDIOS
I’m inspired by the intersection of art, nature and spirituality.” —Gallery Owner & Artist Susan Swartz
Painting abstract landscapes from a place of reverence for the natural world, combined with a fierce determination to see it cleaned up and protected, artist Susan Swartz continues to deliver amazing artistic charisma and charm, both in Park City and around the world. Swartz debuted her newest international exhibition in China featuring two new series created especially in its honor. “Personal Path” was unveiled at the Art Museum of Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing, representing a beautiful celebration of artistic and cross-cultural exchange.
In addition to her art, she has also partnered with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Louie Psihoyos and Dr. Jane Goodall on a number of their environmental campaigns, to support the vision and production of documentary fi lms that seek to shed light on social and environmental injustice.
THOMAS ANTHONY GALLERY
“Light and color are my vocal cords.” —Artist Dorsey McHugh
Looking at one of Dorsey McHugh’s mystical landscapes is like gazing into a dream—drawing you into an unknown, yet inviting and approachable world you never want to leave. Their soothing magic celebrates blissful scenes of gorgeous color and shape. Most are filled with an alluring abode, rolling hills and untold stories bursting with hospitality. “I want to keep the image simple enough to enable the viewer to bring their own story in with them,” she explains, “so they become part of the painting.”
Her painting process involves what she describes as an unrestrained spontaneity, allowing colors to layer over and over to bring out their final expression. Reveling in subtle texture, she applies her acrylics almost exclusively with a palette knife. “While I am executing the painting, I am playing—playing with color, the palette knife and the shapes. Mostly I am playing with light,” said McHugh. Her work has been described as a whimsical combination of reality and imagination.
JULIE NESTER GALLERY
“The most inspiring thing about being a gallery owner is being able to interact with artists on a daily basis.” —Gallery Owner Julie Nester
Julie Nester describes her gallery’s extraordinary roster of painters, sculptors and photographers: “Their talent, passion, awareness and constantly evolving creative vision is an ongoing inspiration to me.”
Jennifer Nehrbass is one such visionary artist who oft en depicts female empowerment through vibrant, energetic paintings. Her latest series, Pioneer Project, examines the European exploration of the West through a female perspective. She creates contemporary female portraits exploring the notions of women as explorers and documentarians that are both mysterious and intriguing. The art includes women of various races and ethnicities mixing different times and influences. Nester explains, “Our collectors love the visual beauty of these paintings, but it’s the story and idea behind the paintings that truly resonate with them.”
In 1976, during a decade witnessing the rise of all-female shows spotlighting artists that had for years been largely ignored by major museums and galleries, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art hosted “Women Artists: 1550 to 1950.” It’s known as the ﬁ rst international exhibition of exclusively female artists; it showcased 83 women from 12 countries, traveled around the US and ended at the Brooklyn Museum.
Though artist Georgia O’Kee˛ e was at the peak of her career and likely one of the most famous female artists of her day, she respectfully declined her invitation to participate. She reportedly remarked that she was simply “one of the best painters period”. With even a quick review of the outstanding work of women in Park City, we must wholeheartedly agree that we are privileged to experience some of the best—women in art and in art period.