A recent study published by the nonprofit Public Library of Science website found that of all the artists represented in American museum collections, 85% are white and over 87% are male. In a step towards greater gender-parity, where suggesting ten exhibitions to see in Boston area museums and galleries that feature dynamic contemporary women artists, just in time for Women’s History Month.
Haitian American artist Chanel Thervil work has taken the form of large scale installations, public art and mixed media portraits that grapple with the intersections of community and individual identity. Her exhibition ENIGMA: Reactions to Racism uses mixed media installations of portraits, abstraction, and interviews to unveil some of the nuances of these experiences from the perspective of Black Millennials in Boston.
A former Peabody Award-winning journalist for MTV and NBC news, Tabitha Soren’s photography is in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Museum. Her show Surface Tension at the Davis Museum features photographs of iPad screens under raking light to reveal the grime we leave behind—the fingerprints and greasy smears of our embodied selves, so seemingly at odds with the chilly detachment of the digital age.
New York-based Kathleen Ryan’s work in sculpture is distinguished by her virtuosic grasp of materials, ranging from poured concrete, cast iron, carved marble, and precious stones, to found objects such as granite machine-mount blocks or bowling balls. Her show at the List Visual Art Center is her institutional premiere.
Artist Howardedna Pindell has challenged the staid traditions of the art world and asserted her place in its history as a woman and one of African descent. In the retrospective What Remains To Be Seen at the Rose Art Museum highlights her most recent works from the last two years, which draw on the beauty and innovation of her approach to abstraction to build upon contemporary conversations around equity and diversity.
For Graciela Iturbide, photography is a way of life and a way of seeing and understanding her native Mexico and its beauty, challenges, and contradictions. This exhibition the Davis as organized over 125 photographers from Iturbide’s five-decades-long career into nine sections which explore various aspects of Mexican culture, including fiestas, death and mortality, and birds and their symbolism.
Vanishing in Plain Sight is Olivia Parker’s journey into Alzheimer’s Disease as experienced through her late husband, John Parker. A continuing work in progress, the photographs featured in this exhibition prove to be some of the most emotionally evocative and experimental work of Parker’s long career.
Canadian born and Paris-based artist Kapwani Kiwanga’s work is research-driven, instigated by marginalized or forgotten histories, and articulated across a range of materials and mediums including sculpture, installation, photography, video, and performance. This survey at MIT traces historical narratives, excavating and considering the global impact of colonialism and how it permeates the contemporary culture.
Deeply invested in creating imagery that is legible and accessible, Nina Chanel Abney mural at the ICA/Boston weaves colorful geometric shapes, cartoons, language, and symbols into a chaotic and energetic composition to address social tensions in the digital age and abuses of power that lead to structural inequality.
Liz Magor: BLOWOUT at the Carpenter Visual Arts Center is the Canadian artist’s first East Coast institutional solo exhibition. Magor’s sculptures raise questions around gender roles, memory, addiction, and the changing value of the objects that come in and out of our lives. Each artwork conjures broad social histories and is driven by intimate, contingent relationships of power and vulnerability.
Best known for her sculptures, Bhabha uses a diverse array of natural, industrial, and found materials to make compelling works that engage the arts and histories of diverse cultures. The ICA presents the largest survey of her work to date, Huma Bhabha: They Live encompasses sculpture, drawing, and photography, with a special focus on her engagement with the human figure.
Chad Sirois is the Senior Marketing and Engagement Manager at ArtsBoston. He is an art and museum addict and can frequently found taking a selfie in a gallery near you.