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09 Aug 2017

Truth is the Only Safe Ground to Stand Upon: Portraits of New York State Suffragists by Christine Heller

Arkell Museum

Reviewed by Ashley Norwood Cooper

Christine Heller's drawings are rendered in crayon on Lexan as part of the process of creating plates for lithographs. The medium captures Heller's expressive hand and broad vocabulary of line.

Mary Garrett Hay, a leader of the suffragist movement in New York City, stares at us with piercing dark eyes. A portrait of Mary Burnett Talbert, who founded the Niagara Movement, exudes confidence.

Heller has not softened their countenances. They confront us with the same focused determination that many Americans find off-putting in women like Hillary Clinton, Michelle Bachman and Nancy Pelosi.

Museums are full of images of women as they are perceived under the male gaze - passive, sexy, inviting. Christine Heller has created a gallery full of women who gaze back. Some viewers will, no doubt, turn away. Others will see in in the lines of these drawings something recognized less from art than from life, the familiar wisdom of women.

Exhibition Truth is the Only Safe Ground to Stand Upon: Portraits of New York State Suffragists by Christine Heller
Start date 24 Jun 2017 (53 days ago)
End date 03 Sep 2017 (in 18 days)
Presenter Arkell Museum link
Venue 2 Erie Boulevard, Canajoharie, NY, USA map
Image Christine Heller, Mary Garrett Hay, 2017, crayon pencil on mylar, 15.5 x 11.5 inches, courtesy of the artist
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