Work created by women artists is celebrated and explored in this exhibition from the McClung’s Arts and Culture collection.
The McClung’s collection of women artists primarily includes local, East Tennessee artists like Adelia Armstrong Lutz, Mary Etta Grainger, and others, along with some well-known American artists like Elizabeth Nourse and Maria Martinez. Though at first this group of art makers seems scattered, this exhibition brings them together to explore some of the motivations of women to produce art. We examine how women’s opportunities were altered due to time, geographic location, and community and family support. The societal constraints on these women artists were informed by the time and place in which they lived, and their art reflects that. This exhibition shows how women used art to create new worlds for themselves. Naturalists like Maria Sybilla Merian changed the way people thought about the natural world while San Ildefonso Pueblo pottery from Maria Martinez would influence Eastern Band Cherokee potters like Amanda Swimmer. Their oft overlooked legacy and scholarship is given a fresh perspective when lifted out of the confines of being hidden and brushed aside.