Gallery features 'sisterhood' of artists

Friday, July 1, 2011
The Black Door Gallery will host a feminine perspective art show, opening Friday, July 1. (Kristin Eberts)

Women will rule this First Friday as the work of 38 female artists is unveiled in the Feminine Perspective Show at the Black Door gallery.

The exhibit has artists from Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and South Carolina, and will include work in multiple mediums.

"This show really has something for everyone," artist and gallery co-owner Elizabeth Thomas said. "We have the work of sculptors, painters, fiber artists, and the show includes everything from realism to abstract art."

Craig Thomas, Elizabeth's husband and gallery co-owner, said he and the artists look forward to the show each year and the exhibit showcases great art and great energy.

"Feminine Perspective is one of the gallery's most popular shows," Craig Thomas said. "There's a great feeling of camaraderie among all the artists and there's always a lot of excitement about it. The show always has a good turn out, and it's always lots of fun. It's a great way to bring lots of mediums together."

Craig and Elizabeth Thomas created the Feminine Perspective Show four years ago as a response to the many male-dominated shows filling the art circuit. The husband and wife artists wanted to establish an exhibit where female artists' work would be the focus.

The first show had 40 local artists and several generations of the Thomas family, including Elizabeth, her daughter and 2-year-old granddaughter.

"That first show was the first time I had the opportunity to show with them," Elizabeth Thomas said. "That first year my granddaughter was just 2 years old. She and her grandfather were playing around one day with paint, and they put it to canvas and we included it in the exhibit."

This year, Thomas will again be exhibiting in the show with a mosaic piece titled "Anticipation."

"It's the image of a man and woman just before they kiss," Elizabeth Thomas said. "It was inspired by first kisses and that feeling you get when you are about to kiss the person you truly love. So I guess you could say it was inspired by my husband."

Carol Horst, a painter whose piece "Growth" is in the show, said the Feminine Perspective offers its artists the opportunity to come together and show art that represents a woman's journey.

"Being all female, all of the artists in the show bond in a way that I don't think is possible in other shows," Horst said. "There is a real sisterhood, and we're all coming from the same perspective and, as women, are all on the same life journey. And that's what the show gives you, the opportunity to see women making pieces about that journey."

The show's popularity among audiences has prompted Craig and Elizabeth Thomas to present an all-male show titled MAN ART, which will open Aug. 5.

Craig Thomas, whose art will be included in the all-male show, said he was reluctant to do an exhibit devoted solely to male art, but demand from audiences was overwhelming.

"Man Art is really more of a response to Feminine Perspective," Craig Thomas said. "There may not necessarily be an obvious need for an all-male show, considering men's dominance throughout history, but we had so many people asking us when we were going to have a male exhibit, that we decided to start one."

Elizabeth Thomas said the real catalyst for Man Art came when her husband and a friend were discussing the idea after one of the Feminine Perspective shows and jokingly began throwing around name ideas.

"They were joking about what the show would be called and what kind of art would be exhibited if it were all male artists," Elizabeth Thomas said. "They came up with names like 'men and their tools,' and ended up calling it MAN ART because it had a kind of caveman quality to it. They wanted to make the show as masculine as possible."

While the Black Door Gallery is hosting two shows for women and men, Craig Thomas said separating art by gender is unnecessary.

"Some people feel an emphasis should be placed on who creates the art,"he said. "But I don't care where the art comes from, so long as it's good."

The Feminine Perspective Show runs today through July 30. The First Friday reception will be from 5 to 9 p.m. today. Man Art will open Aug. 5 with its own First Friday reception. For more information, call the Black Door Gallery at 225-7734.

ssemmler@semissourian.com

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