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Women’s Art Exhibition Shouts for Community

Cry Baby Gallery x Tacit Collective

On International Women’s Day, No Man’s Land exhibit amplifies women creatives

By Sophie Sobol
Photography by Hayley Axelrad (feature)

With women being so severely underrepresented and underpaid in the art world – making up only two per cent of art sold globally – supporting women creatives is more important than ever. This underscores the motive behind Tacit Collective‘s recent collaboration with Cry Baby Gallery on the co-curated No Man’s Land exhibit.

The mixed-media show, which opened on International Women’s Day, celebrates women creatives living in Toronto. Notably, Hayley Axelrad, Katie Butler, Katie Kohls, Celia Lees, Adrienna Matzeg, Maxine McCrann and Daniella Williams. The opening of the No Man’s Land exhibit was less about creating a man-free-zone as it was about carving space for women to gather in awe of one another’s unmissable talents—filling Cry Baby’s quarters with the sounds of laughter, chatting, whooping, clapping, philosophizing and more. A show about cumulative strength, the small exhibition space was packed with family, friends, art-enjoyers and creatives alike.

When I consider the setbacks of women’s rights in North America and the oppressive abortion laws that threaten to seep into Canadian law from our southern border, women-led initiatives like this become evidently important. To match, the works displayed at No Man’s Land (on view until April 3) serve as an artistic demonstration of womanhood through the eyes of women creatives— the beauty in individuality, strengthened by the impact of togetherness.

Here are some of my favourites.

No Man’s Land exhibit

Daniella Williams’ painting I’ve Rarely Felt The Need to Be Agreeable stares right back at you. In a contemporary, figurative style, the figures seem to catch you looking and glare back, unhappy with the intrusion into their private moment. Fascinated by this theme of voyeurism and intimacy, Williams challenges viewers to confront their own role as the watcher.

women creatives

With jewel-like stained glass adornments, Mirror II by artist and design consultant Katie Kohls of stained-glass practice Dear Heart immediately catches the eye. Kohls’ series of beautifully constructed, hand-cut mirrors evoke the organic forms of sea glass, rocky pebble beaches and other curiosities that might wash up on the shoreline. Suggesting self-examination, a major focus of feminist art, the mirror hints at both a history of women’s craft-making and a deep emotional introspection.

No Man’s Land exhibit

Created by Adrienna Matzeg, this series of punch needle embroidery compositions draws from imagery of famous travel destinations to explore architectural memory, nostalgia, and narrative through textiles. Teatro del Mondo, pictured above, depicts Aldo Rossi’s graceful floating theatre conceptualized for the first architecture biennale in Venice, Italy. Matzeg’s compositions seem to speak to women’s creativity throughout history, perhaps in an attempt to subvert women’s long-standing relationship with embroidery.

Categories: Arts & Culture

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