Spanning a timeline of three millennia, this exhibition of sculpture, painting, drawing and photography explores the representation of power, myth and beauty of women as a subject in art.
Examining works of art from the around the world and across history in this context creates a rare opportunity for a close study of women as a subject in art. As Terry Eagleton states in After Theory, “One of the towering achievements of cultural theory has been to establish gender and sexuality as legitimate objects of study, as well as matters of insistent political importance.”
Historical works selected for this exhibition include a Hellenistic torso from the 2nd century BC, an 11th-century sandstone sculpture of a Celestial Female from Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, and an 18th-century terra-cotta by Guillaume Coustou of Queen Marie Leszczynska, the wife of Louis XV in the guise of Flora.
Of the many ethnographic works in this show, the monumental gable sculpture from New Guinea of the primordial creation divinity who is thought to have given birth to the Sepik River represents an exceptional opportunity to view and acquire one of the last known works of its kind for available for sale.
The contemporary portion of Woman: Sacred & Profane features revealing and provocative images of the controversial postmodern writer Kathy Acker by photographer MICHEL DELSOL. Delsol’s portraits of renowned Kabuki actor Nakamura Shichinosuke, whose heightened femininity in his women’s roles is captured with great poetry, further augment the study of the iconology of women.
LUCIEN CLERGUE’s startling nudes from 2007 presented for the first time in America since his induction into the prestigious French Académie des Beaux Arts in 2006 are a highlight of the exhibition. He is the first photographer ever to be honored by the Académie since its founding in 1803.
Egg tempera paintings by MAVIS SMITH bridge the old world and the new as she uses this ancient technique to haunting and delicate effect.
Woman: Sacred & Profane is an homage to the inspired ways artists from 1000 BC through today have depicted the woman as goddess, muse, creator, destroyer and lover. It seeks to examine with depth and reverence, the mythologies of women both celestial and earthly, divine and secular.