As an artist member of the Artists2artists Social Network, I posted some of my work in their online gallery.
Their resident curator, Kristen T Woodward* saw my work and wrote about it. She has allowed me to share her review.
Here is her review of my work:
It was a joy to discover your series of large-scale flower paintings on view this morning. Subtle Exuberance- Tree Peony held my attention the longest, with it’s delicately curling petals, and contrasts of value. The lower chroma hues within the areas of shadow- variations of brown and muted violets, are a surprising color scheme in the giant bloom. The colors beautifully contrast with the complementary yellow center’s delicate stamens, which provides striking textural variation against the smooth petals. The abstraction of the flowers presented in large format grants them an otherworldly quality. I find the peony works, including Worth the Wait are particularly effective in their restraint of color. Thank you for sharing your work. I look forward to viewing more over time.
My name is Kristen T Woodward, and I am the official resident curator for Artists2artists. Please view my short bio below:
A Professor of Art at Albright College in Pennsylvania, I have exhibited my mixed media paintings in over 200 venues since 2000. I currently teach introductory through advanced levels of undergraduate printmaking & painting, including oil and water media, and encaustic. I have also team taught interdisciplinary courses on Latin American graphic art, and gender and the visual arts. Currently, I am collaborating with a biologist to explore tropical ecosystems in Central America.
Opening reception: Thursday, June 17, 2021, 5:00-6:30 PM via Zoom.
For more information about how to join the reception, please email: email@example.com.
The invited artists for this exhibition are:
Toni Truesdale, Pamela Cook, Pam Krimsky, Barbara Bell, Laura Bronzini, Maxey Medolin, Linda Snider Ward, Judith Carlin, Nancy Jacey, Joanna Coke, Lucinda Abra, Barbara Williams, Joan Menschenfreund, Victoria Elmer, Mary Ahern, Joanna Biondolillo, Lily Braff, Meredith Beattie, Kathleen Zimmerman, Arlene Robbins, Mary Bell Steffen, Elena Zelenina, Merill French, Julie Rothblatt-Amrany, Sandy Dimke, Carol Branton, Melinda Welker, Meredeth Turshen, Julie O’Conner, and Barabra Stahl.
“Pat’s Passion” is a painting I created of my friend Pat Sayers who is a daylily hybridizer. You can see her website here: Whispering Hills Garden
Over 800 professional women artists comprise the national membership. The National Association of Women Artists holds juried group exhibitions, solo exhibitions, workshops and fundraising events throughout the year promoting visibility for women artists across the country. Artists are also recognized through a variety of awards given by NAWA.
Established in 1889, NAWA is the first established professional women’s art organization in the U.S. NAWA’s documented exhibitions are archived within The Smithsonian Institution Archives; The Museum of Modern Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; the Zimmerli Art Museum; Rutgers University, the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries at the Art Institute of Chicago; the Library of Congress; the National Museum of Women in the Arts; the Frick Art Reference Library; and the New York Public Library.
The National Association of Women Artists is the oldest art organization in the country. NAWA. Supporting Women Artists Since 1889.
This article about NAWA, published by the Fine Art Connoisseur magazine, focuses on this prestigious women’s art organization of which I am a juried-in member. I’m so amazed and delighted to be one of the artists whose work is featured in this article. Wow!
For NAWA member Mary Ahern, flowers represent a microcosm of the universe in their cycles of living and loving, families and relationships as well as their quest for survival and eventual senescence and rebirth.
It’s easy for some to forget that not that long ago in history, women had few opportunities for making art, much less becoming professional artists. Even today there are challenges, which is why it’s important to highlight the oldest women’s fine art organization in the country, the National Association of Women Artists (NAWA).
“NAWA was founded by a group of women artists not content to be kept out of salons, exhibitions and galleries open to male artists in the 19th century,” Amy Hutto, a juried member of NAWA, says. “While great strides have been made, women artists continue to be underrepresented and our work undervalued monetarily compared to our male counterparts still today. Our goals, among many others, are to educate, inspire, promote and celebrate the art work and accomplishments of women artists, our members in particular.”
NAWA member Lisa Daria Kennedy. Since 2009, she has committed to an on-going daily painting project. As a young adult cancer survivor, she discovered living is not just surviving. Each painting seeks to give a voice to the fiber of the everyday.
Hutto, a colorist whose subject focus is on domestic and wild animals, is from Austin, Texas, and currently lives in the Finger Lakes region of New York.
I had the opportunity to ask Hutto a few questions about the importance and benefits of NAWA, including a question that makes women in particular cringe.
Cherie Dawn Haas: Can you tell me a little about yourself please, and why you chose to join NAWA?
Amy Hutto: I chose to join NAWA because of its prestigious reputation, historical significance and its long history of spotlighting the under-represented art of women in a predominately male oriented profession.
I also wanted to connect with other artists across the country, and now I converse regularly with professional women artists in Colorado, South Carolina, and all over. I feel like I have my finger on the pulse of the art world in real-time.
CDH: What is your response when someone says, “They don’t have an association just for men?”
AH: I explain that the art world has traditionally been an association for men. Men have long dominated salons, galleries, and museums throughout history. Many women don’t even sign their full name on their work, just their initials, to remove any preconceived notions about art created by a woman. The National Association of Women Artists is working to change that narrative.
CDH: What are some of the ways in which men can support NAWA and women artists in general?
AH: NAWA does have many men who support us and we appreciate them a great deal! We have men on our Executive Board of Directors who support women artists. Men who are in the business of art whether as creators, gallery owners, curators, etc…acknowledgement; in-kind recognition and more inclusive practices that strive for more balanced representation; and additionally to support efforts for women created works of art to be monetarily valued as equal to that of men’s art.
Non-members of the art world can also show their support of NAWA through financial donations and endowments which allow us to grow our organization, hence increasing awareness of women artists and their contributions to the art industry.
NAWA member Joyce Byrnes is a pastel artist living in Rockland County, NY. In her paintings, she seeks to convey the light, color and textures she finds in nature.
CDH: What are some of the benefits of joining NAWA?
AH: There are so many benefits of joining NAWA; national exposure through NAWA’s website, the ability to participate in exhibitions that are exclusive to NAWA members both online and in exhibition spaces, the contacts one can establish with artists across the country, the support of other artists experiencing the same issues in our industry, access to a wealth of knowledge and expertise shared with other members on our social media sites, as well as having artwork listed in our catalogs and stored in the archives at Alexander Library at Rutgers University. I could go on and on.
I will add just one more thing. Being able to be a part of this historical organization whose sole purpose is to empower women artists, and to see my name alongside artist powerhouses such as Mary Cassatt, Faith Ringgold, and Judy Chicago is an enormous honor. Such a feeling of accomplishment is difficult to put in words.
CDH: Have there been any unexpected positive results for the artists in this association?
AH: Yes, having our organization featured here! Thank you very much for the opportunity to visit with you and share a little about NAWA and our artists. You never know where connections will lead, and you don’t make connections unless you reach out.
I reached out to join NAWA and once I was accepted, a whole world of opportunity opened for me. That’s what we want for our members; to show them that we value them as an artist by selecting them through a juried process to join our esteemed organization and by providing ongoing opportunities for education, inspiration and promotion of their work – connecting with them not only on a professional level, but personal level.
CDH: Does NAWA have any upcoming exhibitions?
AH: We currently have “The Resilience of Grief” and “Winter Small Works,” which are online exhibitions that will carry us into spring. They will be followed by “Special Women / HERstory” and an invitational exhibition, Art Angels which will lead into our first summer exhibition for our new members held in June.
Members and the public alike enjoy an exhibition of art from NAWA
CDH: Anything else you’d like to add?
AH: I’d like to mention that NAWA Headquarters recently moved into a new location. We are now privileged to call the National Arts Club building at Gramercy Park South in New York City our new home. This is a beautiful and historically significant building and when we are able to return to in person shows, we will have an incredible new space to host them in.
In the meantime, please visit our website www.thenawa.org and like our Facebook page @TheNAWA, to see what our incredible artists and the organization is doing. Lastly I want to thank you again for the opportunity to share a little about the National Association of Women Artists. Having a chance to highlight the issue of under-representation of women artists, is critical. Art is an ever-evolving form of expression that belongs to all of us. We each have the power to change the status quo for the betterment of not only ourselves, but the women artists who come after us.
Cherie Dawn Haas is the Editor of Realism Today, as well as the Online Content Manager for FineArtConnoisseur.com and OutdoorPainter.com (home of Plein Air Magazine). She is a “maker” who loves to write, dance, and explore various other forms of creative self-expression, including mixed media art.
I am honored to have my painting “Pay Attention Here – Orange Hibiscus” on the cover of the Fall 2020 Newsletter of NAWA, The National Association of Artists. I was juried as a full member into this prestigious historic organization in November of 2018.
NAWA was founded on January 31, 1889 to offer women a greater opportunity as professional artists in a male-dominated art world. From the onset, the annual exhibitions of the women’s Art Club were a great success, attracting the participation of women artists such as Mary Cassatt, Suzanne Valadon, Rosa Bonheur and Cecelia Beaux. As the organization grew, its membership included prominent artists like Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and Anna Hyatt Huntington.
Many members have taken their rightful place among the recognized artists of their time. Louise Nevelson, Nell Blaine, Alice Neel, Marisol, Judy Chicago, Miriam Schapiro, Janet Fish, Audrey Flack and Faith Ringgold. It is a great honor for me to be afforded such an inspiring brush with history and talent.
This is the statement I wrote for the NAWA publication.
For years, I have created floral and garden paintings as the subject of my art. During the last number of years, I’ve focused ever more closely on the centers of flowers as they speak to me more deeply of the reason for their existence. And ours as well.
As a passionate gardener, I am inspired by the gardens I designed and tend surrounding my own studio in Northport. These flowers represent to me a microcosm of the universe. The outsize scale of these individual flower portraits demands attention. They ask questions beyond the canvas.
What is the purpose for such magnificence in nature? What is the reason for such color, such form, such diversity? What is their relationship to the communities in which they belong, their relationships with other plants and species that sustain them, invade them and nourish them? What of their lifecycle of birth, growth, senescence and rebirth? As humans, what can we learn from their seemingly simple existence?
Initially, we see with our eyes. We name the subject, identify it and classify it. But, we also have a duality of vision which allows us to contemplate with an inner vision. This art invites both the external and internal views.
The dual naming of each painting reflects the complex meaning of the work and is an enticement to think more deeply about the subject. This painting, Pay Attention Here – Orange Hibiscus, is at first a call for contemplation of purpose and secondarily, the common name of the flower which enables a more familiar entry into the conversation.
“Not Just Another Pretty Flower” Artist Talk with Firefly Mary Ahern: Winter may be coming, but flowers are blooming at the Firefly! Come, meet Mary Ahern and her bold, vibrant garden landscapes and flower portraits.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to hear this award-winning artist speak about how, over decades, her gardens inspired in her a deeper consideration of existence and purpose, and how her thoughts evolved and expanded as she moved closer and closer to the floral centers.
As a classically trained artist, Mary has created her vision through traditional as well as diverse digital mediums. Her work has been shown extensively from New York City to the Hamptons. Now, you can see her at The Firefly Artists Gallery in the beautiful Village of Northport.
Says Ahern, “My Art Starts in the Garden, which inspires me to create Art that asks questions beyond the canvas. Flowers represent a microcosm of the universe in their quest for life. Whether creating with digital or traditional mediums, flowers and gardens lead me to express not just with my eyes but also with my soul.”
Closing Reception and Symposium Saturday August 24th 1-4pm
A journey of discovery with no foreknown destination was set into motion and this exhibition is the momentary culmination. This exhibit includes artists who have collaborated beyond their medium of expression, artists both experienced and new at collaborating, parents with their adult offspring, varied processes that combine music, video, garden, humanity. This will excite you and get your creative juices bubbling…but you won’t over-heat. The Islip Art Museum is air-conditioned.
Mary Ahern is a painter and Mary Schlotter is a floral designer.
We are both Marys and we are also both passionate gardeners. We have joined forces in a number of art shows using our own respective mediums. In these collaborations we select a theme which, for both of us, always includes plant material. We discuss issues of color, size, proportion and duration before the work begins. Usually the two dimensional artwork comes first since it takes longer to create. Then the magic of interpreting those works into three dimensions including the issues of time and sustenance are explored. In our collaborations we offer each other tremendous freedom yet within creative boundaries. Our temperaments and our awe of the natural world surrounding us is the fulcrum of all of our work whether we are collaborating together or working alone.
As a passionate gardener, my art is as intricately entwined as the gardens surrounding my studio. Cultivating and tending these gardens is the first stage of creating the art that grows in my studio.
Flowers represent to me a microcosm of the universe in their cycles of living and loving, families and relationships as well as their quest for survival and eventual senescence and rebirth.
With a duality of external and internal vision, I invite the viewer to see, larger than life, the beauty and intricacy of flowers and in their boldness I suggest a contemplation of their relevance and ours in the social order of our universe.
“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change” – Buddha
My grandmother Maria was from Bari, Italy. As a child she would walk with me through the gardens at our home while pointing out various flowers and fruits. Our house was built on an old fruit orchard. One day she took her thumb and pushed it into the soil. In her apron pocket she pulled out a peach pit. She said it had been so delicious. She had me plant it and covered it with a clean mayonnaise jar, and so it grew.
These walks inspire me in my designs. Every time I step into my garden or see a beautiful flower, a plant or a perfect peach I think of her. I create my arrangements as if they had just been gathered in our arms from the garden.
They are composed in a manner that will not hurt the earth by using toxic design mechanics such as floral foam. Clean water and compostable armatures are my base. When ever possible I grow our flowers and use locally sourced material. I want the recipient or the viewer of my design to feel as if they are catching a glimpse of a garden and give them a sense of peace.
“Adopt the sense of nature, her secret is patience” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery is extremely pleased to announce that Mary Ahern has been named as the Gallery’s new featured artist and she will now be promoted by the gallery for the next 14 days in the gallery’s Artist Showcase.
Mary Ahern is a New York based artist whose art is as intricately entwined as the gardens surrounding her studio. Cultivating and tending those gardens are the first stage of creating the art that grows in her studio. Mary was selected as 1 of the top twelve finalists in the gallery’s recent Solo Art Exhibition Series #11. The placement in this competition qualified her art to be showcased in this feature.
Mary’s Artist Showcase feature will be promoted to over 350+ major news outlets, with inclusion on Google News & Bing News. In addition, the gallery will also be featuring and promoting her landscape art in the gallery’s various social media networks for further exposure.
Below is Mary’s Artist Statement and 5 images that were submitted to this competition.
VORACIOUSLY CONSUMING LIFE
Through the twisting paths and obstacles in life, the two constants for me have been my Art and my Garden. These are my anchors. They keep me balanced, complete, secure. The arrival of spring flings me from my studio where I’ve been creating my Art all winter, into the emerging garden surrounding my studio. The colors shout optimism to me. The joyous season has begun again. This is where I grow my subjects and gather the imagery for my work. I’ve been an Artist for eons, exploring as all true Artists do, a myriad of subjects and with enough mediums that fill drawers and cabinets throughout my studio. I’ve been zigging and zagging throughout my journey with all the bumps and joyous bursts I could grab. Some of my work through the years has had autobiographical underpinnings, some of it was icy flat. I’ve worked big and I’ve worked small. But when it comes down to it, I love color.
RIFFING ON CLASSICAL ART
I love studying Art History. I’ve been doing it steadily now for decades. My personal library still contains the first book in which I saw the work of Georgia O’Keeffe. I wept each time I opened it. I had to limit myself to 10 pages a day since I was exhausted from looking, from feeling, from studying. I remember stroking the large pages hoping to absorb something, something unknowable to me at the time. Her work somehow spoke to my soul. Though I’ve absorbed some of Georgia’s iconography, when I’m painting in traditional oils I reach backwards to techniques of the Old Masters. I enjoy the process of grisaille painting with the painstaking layers of glazes but I do it with a modern flair. Speaking of modern, I may reach backwards to compositions inspired by Raphael’s Madonna del Prato but I may do the painting using digital mediums with Siberian irises as subjects. My classical Art education in New York City was probably the last gasp of formal training before the onset of conceptual and performance art took hold. My professors were all active and renowned in their fields, Wolf Kahn, Herb Aach, Robert Birmelin and Louis Finkelstein. The foundation in color and design they taught is still the basis of all my work. I am indeed fortunate to have studied with professors who opened their SOHO studios and used the NYC art scene as an integral part of their classroom. The proximity I still have with my studio one hour’s train ride from the array of museums and galleries in NYC is rejuvenating, inspiring and jump starting. My education never ends.
HURLING MYSELF THROUGH LIFE
Once I recognized that I was an Artist, I’ve always maintained a working studio even when at times circumstances prevented great productivity. Then I would sit in there and study my books of the masters, absorbing not only their techniques but also an understanding of the enormous obstacles most of them had to traverse in order to continue forward with their work. They kept me going. I make lemonade out of lemons. To remain in the world of creativity and support my sons as a single parent, I navigated into the nascent world of computer graphics during the 1980’s. Here I sold graphics and electronic paint systems to the Television & Production industry for use in on-air graphics and advertising. My Art training was put to good use as I demonstrated the systems to my target market of creative professionals who were just converting from traditional mediums to digital. After receiving a concussion on the glass ceiling, I began my own graphic design business. Designing print media for my clients turned into repurposing their material once they recognized the value of the Internet. I built my first website in 1995, the year after the Internet became publically available. Having a low threshold for boredom has helped me shape my ongoing career in the Arts by pushing me to continually try new ideas, concepts and mediums.
AND THEN FOR A REAL CHANGE OF PACE
Exactly 20 years after I graduated with my Fine Arts degree I graduated with a degree in Ornamental Horticulture with a focus on Landscape Design. I am combining my Art and my love for gardening that was instilled in me as a child by my favorite Uncle Teddy. I am absolutely driven with these two passions. In fact, in 2000 I rebuilt my home and added two studios overlooking the gardens I’ve designed over the decades. These gardens that surround me in the quaint town of Northport on Long Island and beyond are the main inspiration for my Art. I demand excellence in my work and continuously strive to be a subject-matter-expert in my fields of study. My expertise, not only in the mediums I choose but also in the subjects of horticulture and landscape design that I represent in my close-up florals and landscape paintings of gardens is critical to me. I have a passion for life and learning. It is at the core of my being and who I am as a person and as an Artist.
Mary Ahern speaking about her artwork at the Induction Ceremony of The National Association of Women Artists held at the Rubin Museum in New York City, November 2018.
On September 25, 2018 I received a letter congratulating me on having been accepted into the National Association of Women Artists, Inc. (NAWA). I had submitted my portfolio for review, my resume/CV, bio and Artist’s Statement. This is a juried acceptance to this prestigious organization and I am very proud to have my name on the same page as some of the amazing artists who have been affiliated with this organization over the years.
To create greater opportunity for professional women artists in a male-dominated art world, on January 31, 1889, five innovative women, Anita C. Ashley, Adele Frances Bedell, Elizabeth S. Cheever, Grace Fitz-Randolph and Edith Mitchill Prellwitz met to discuss the formation of a women’s art organization. In an era when women artists were associated primarily with crafts and decorative arts, the founders of NAWA envisioned an organization which would promote higher standards for women artists and provide them with the opportunity to exhibit their work.
The history of NAWA is a testament to the strength and resilience of a group of strong women who would not accept being shut out of the art salons, galleries and art exhibitions open to male artists during the 19th century. Their founding of the organization proves that, despite adversity and discrimination – which many feel extends to this day — women are an integral and valuable part of the arts community.
From the onset, the annual exhibitions of the women’s Art Club were a great success, attracting the participation of women artists such as Mary Cassatt, Suzanne Valadon, Rosa Bonheur and Cecelia Beaux. As the organization grew, its membership included prominent artists like Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and Anna Hyatt Huntington.
Over the years the organization attracted many talented members who later achieved great recognition for their work. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney established the Whitney Museum of Art in New York City. Anna Hyatt Huntington created the sculpture museum Brookgreen Gardens/ in South Carolina.
Many members and supporters have exhibited in major museums and have taken their rightful place among the recognized artists of their time. Louise Nevelson, Malvina Hoffman, Cleo Hartwig, Minna Citron, Nell Blaine, Dorothy Dehner, Alice Neel, Marisol, Pat Adams, Judy Chicago, Miriam Schapiro, Janet Fish and Audrey Flack, and other contemporary talented artists joined the organization making NAWA valid force in its time.
NAWA members represent all areas of the visual arts including painting, sculpture, encaustic photography, print-making,video art, installations and mixed media. The benefits of membership are many, including a substantial Awards program, the opportunity to display artwork throughout the U.S. in our Exhibitions program, and inclusion in NAWA’s Annual Catalog.
Through NAWA’s exhibitions, educational programs, events and archive, the Association fosters awareness of the monumental contribution of women to the history of American Culture and Art.
The organization is inclusive and serves professional women visual artists of all backgrounds and traditions that are at least 18 years of age and U .S. citizens or permanent residents.
THE NAWA PERMANENT COLLECTION
The NAWA permanent collection was established under the leadership of Liana Moonie in 1991. Housed at the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the NAWA collection contains the work of artists dating from the organization’s earliest days to the present. Parts of the collection are continually on view at the museum and special exhibitions were created under the guidance of Jeffrey Wechsler.