“Pieced together: Expression, Memory, Identity”
YWCA, Women’s Gallery, 898 Walnut St. Cincinnati, Ohio
Artists: Jamie Van Landuyt, Elizabeth Leal and Sara Caswell Pearce
Through April 13th, 2017
Go West, Young Women
By Sara Caswell-Pearce
Mixed-media collage made with antique engraving from Harper’s Weekly (1875), antique map,
hand-painted and black-and-white antique fashion illustrations from Godey’s Lady’s Book,
Peterson’s Magazine, and The Delineator; ink, watercolor. On acid-free foam-core board. (2016)
21” w x 15.25” h (unframed) / 28” w x 22” h (framed)
This show, entitled “Pieced Together”, brings forward a variety of work by women in our community in multiple mediums.
Elizabeth Leal’s sculptural pieces are organic in formal concept and rhythms. Leal’s wire welds mimic botanical growth forms with spaces that are alternately pasted over with a variety of texturizing natural Japanese rice papers. Plant and pod-like pieces that are wall mounted are gently emphasized in the light as the tones of their cool cast shadows contrast with the projecting papered forms. The wire constructs are wrapped with a natural color covering which integrates their necessary constructive presence. Wire ends are also utilized to elongate the lineal flow into a natural terminal. There are a variety of formats, freestanding, freestanding cluster and wall frieze.
Van Landuyt’s pieces are a multi media adventure in color palette which lacks an original formal vehicle for expression. Her boulder and pebble motif is dated and has not been manipulated with inventive interest and personalization. With either of these selections, there seems to be no connection to the show’s theme.
The real meat of the show lies in the pieced together work of Sara Caswell Pearce, whose paper collage narratives are the most original and refreshing statements in this exhibition. This artist reveres the essence of paper in all its extant forms and uses. Pearce articulates expressive and insightful thematic images from her treasure trove of paper collections, in this exhibition, populating grand historic moments as well as everyday courage and private tragedy with a female population.
One series of graphic incidents taken from Harper’s Bazar describes to contemporary audiences the dangers heroic men faced in settling the Wild West, including the perils of cabin life, and the everyday encounters with dangers in doing their jobs.  In “Go West, Young Women”, corseted waspwaisted Victorian women with mild milk toast expressions and proper millinery refinements, make their way through a rough passage in the Rocky Mountains as they head toward new diggings during the American Gold Rush.
Just As They Feared:
The Evans Sisters Breeding Experiments Draw Unwanted Attention
By Sara Caswell-Pearce
Mixed-media collage made with antique engraving from Harper’s Weekly (1875); black-and-white antique fashion illustrations from Godey’s Lady’s Book and Peterson’s Magazine; antique illustration from a cloth children’s book; recycled paper sample; ink, watercolor. On acid-free foam-core board. (2016)
18.25” w x 13.25” h (unframed) / 25.5” w x 20.5” h (framed)
In “The Mail Must Go Through”, a lone female figure in raised silhouette, awaits the oncoming train with a hook mail bag. Her pistol, though proportionately overlarge, seems an inadequate defense against the onslaught of two bear-sized marauding prairie dogs entering aggressively across the tracks.
This writer was also impressed with the Victorian dress displayed on a wire dressmaker’s bodice, constructed out of actual dress pattern rice paper, typical of the time. Sewing women traced their selected pattern pieces from a multi pattern overlay, deciphering the pieces through distinctive line pattern.  The distinctive line pattern creates an overall cartography effect and is accented with multiple paper lace patterns, alluding to the additional domestic skills that women cultivated in the home including embroidery, tatting, crocheting and lace making to note a few.
This exhibit has appeal despite its flawed presentation and will be open for viewing through April 13th
YWCA Gallery, 898 Walnut St. Cincinnati
Marlene Steele paints and teaches in Cincinnati Ohio.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *