By Angela Romeo

In the not so distant past a Presidential Debate was held. One participant referred to another participant as “Such a Nasty Woman.” That comment in turn sparked an ember that became a movement that Bustle called “the female empowerment message Donald Trump didn’t mean to inspire.”

Long revered and vilified for its power, art entered the movement. Nasty Women is a global art movement that seeks to show solidarity among artists who identify with the Nasty Women movement.  Nasty Women art movement has held over forty art exhibitions taking place around the United States and abroad.  The Nasty Women Exhibitions seeks to bring awareness to political threats to impinge on individual rights including abortion and birth control. Some exhibitions raise funds to support organizations defending these rights. 

In response to this movement, Gallery 62 and Beatnik Lounge are presenting the Nasty Women Art Exhibition, curated by Suzanne Ross. Gallery 62 is part of the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council. While this show does not necessarily reflect the views of The Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council, it is a reflection of the current political climate.

The exhibition includes work by female and male artists and presents a variety of artworks in response to the topic. “The individual expression includes a range from positive metaphor to outright rage, while showcasing a united solidarity against the loss of individual rights.”noted Suzanne.

Participating artists include Suzanne Ross, Barbara Drucker, Coco Hall and Timothy Hearsum. Artist Barbara Spiller’s piece, Black Winged Virgin, is a 14″x 11″ monoprint. The black and white image of a nude female figure simultaneously evokes sensuality and suppression.

“The image of the black winged virgin appeared to me in a dream. I had made the made the monoprint some time ago but it immediately came to mind when I heard the call for Nasty Women,” said Barbara. 

Barbara felt a need to participate.  “I think that, although the term Nasty Women may be spoken, as in the Trump/Clinton debate, in seeming reference is to behavior or a presumption of power on the part of the woman. I always hear in misogynist speech an underlying loathing disrespect of the female body. The Black Winged Virgin, however, fills up space and sits comfortably in her flesh. She exudes a kind of ironic contradiction to ‘nasty’, and exists as a ‘taking back’, a redefining of a nasty woman. It is a statement that I will define myself!”

Artist Rik Livingston has 3 pieces in the exhibit.  “The piece that most represents my feelings concerning the current resistance to domination by the powerful is the displays of 100 free mini posters. Hands Off the P…, Fat Cat!  is a symbol of defiance to injustice. I hope the poster makes its way to every refrigerator, car and house window throughout the desert!”

“My piece The Dream Screen is 6 feet by 8 feet which features a nude. It was reviewed in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle and published in SOMA Magazine. But when it was exhibited in The Joshua Joshua Tree Chamber of Commerce, it was first banned, then allowed back with its face to the wall, so people had to walk around to see the image. That inspired a Censorship Show at The 29 Palms Creative Center. The piece was featured face forward. It was all ironic because the painting is, in part, about the objectification of the nude in art.”

“It was nudity itself that got the piece banned, so I created a desert version of Henri Rousseau’s Dream, called Desert Dream. That piece will be exhibited at Gallery 62,” continued Rik. “When viewers see these two pieces many will remember that censorship and all the voices that spoke out against suppression.” 

Voices speaking out are a central theme to the Nasty Women movement. “It was important to participate in this show because it is no longer about Hillary. Plain and simple, it is about BULLYING. It is a dominant minority forcing their agenda on those of us who are less powerful…for the moment. My work has often touched on social issues, but generally in subtle ways. Not this time. I want my participation to be, like in Hands Off the P…, Fat Cat! a slap in the face! We all need to wake up and resist.”

Nasty Women Art Exhibition opens a dialogue of respect and human dignity. It runs through May 28. For more information visit www.mbcac.org/event/nasty-women-exhibit-on-display-at-gallery-62-in-may.

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