‘Women at War’ exhibit at Hyde Art Gallery poignant and powerful

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It is a warzone at the Grossmont College Hyde Gallery as 22 women artists convey their interpretations of war inwardly, outwardly and many times literally. Its “Women at War” exhibition, now running through April 23 is a poignant display of many styles of art with a not so subtle message in many cases, and created with an impressive display of mediums. All contributors are members of Feminist Image Group, a coalition of artists that support each other in their careers in and through art.

It is a warzone at the Grossmont College Hyde Gallery as 22 women artists convey their interpretations of war inwardly, outwardly and many times literally. Its “Women at War” exhibition, now running through April 23 is a poignant display of many styles of art with a not so subtle message in many cases, and created with an impressive display of mediums. All contributors are members of Feminist Image Group, a coalition of artists that support each other in their careers in and through art.

A large showing with more than two dozen pieces of art, there are paintings, quilting, sculptures, ceramics and downright nuts and bolts displays that bring an array of emotion and thought into the daily lives of women in crisis at one time or another in their lives. With such personal interpretations, this show has a power that provokes awareness, a stark reality and in some cases horror. But each piece of art in this exhibit stands on its own as well as it strengthens the collective.

Hyde Gallery Director Prudence Horne said she gave these women the theme “Women at War” and wanted each of them to interpret that in her own way

“Whether it be at war with themselves, war with their neighbor or war itself, and everyone had a creative response to this,” she said. “(With the diversity of mediums), It is a really great array of art.”

Artist Jeanne Dunn created a mural sized acrylic painting “Where did they go.” Symbolism fills the painting, especially with the myriad of empty footsteps, each in lieu of children and adult throughout the world affected by war. In her notes, she states that currently there are 65 countries involved in wars and 614 militias, guerilla and separatist groups involved with conflict.

“I’m at war with war itself,” said Dunn. “Because of all the innocent people are not fighting it, but they are displaced, without shelter food. We think of people in Yemen, Iran, Ukraine and this campus has people that have fought wars. I wish war would be eliminated and not be so greedy.”

Kathy Nida’s quilted work is a masterpiece of sewing in the constant woman’s war with society. Its stark images evoke strength and struggle as you look at the powerful woman, creating a sense of constant struggle from birth. Nida said this struggle with society on a continuous basis was the inspiration behind the art.

“For jobs, for pay, childcare, for just being in control of what is happening in our uterus,” she said. “So I came to it from that perspective, and why she is standing on a pile of men. Because society works the other way around most of the time. And as a science teacher I fight it all the time, so I’m coming from a scientific perspective.”

“Internal Struggle,” a mixed media structure, spheres creating a honeycombed sphere, with wood, linen tape and wire holds a bee within its constraints, is a glimpse into the internal struggles of artist Stephanie Bedwell. She said she feels the constant order to make sure everything fits and trying to push things into the directions, she thinks they should go.

“The process of making the piece, the coiling, the twisting, binding, mimics the process of living life where you are constantly fighting to put things together,” she said. “And there is something both difficult and satisfying about the process.”

There is much more to be seen at the Hyde Gallery, each a personal story and each painstakingly visionary, embedded with the many elements of artistic expression.

Grossmont College Hyde Art Gallery (Building 25) Hours:

10 a.m. -6 p.m. Monday-Thursday

This exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information visit www.grossmont.edu/gallery or call (619) 644-7299.

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