Christina Weyl

Proto-Feminism in the Print Studio

  • Sep 13, 2022

Arcadia University, Spruance Gallery
Glenside, Pennsylvania
September 13-December 4, 2022

During the 1940s and 1950s, hundreds of women artists gravitated toward making prints, due, in part, to the way the medium provided forms of access and agency not as readily available within the fields of painting and sculpture. Working in a range of styles, they studied at various print studios—both independent outfits or university classrooms—and exhibited their work in the era’s countless print annuals. At a time when women struggled against structural sexism to earn solo exhibitions at top-tier galleries, these group print shows offered women artists a rare opportunity to earn critical notice. Women’s participation in the midcentury printmaking community also had significant collective impact. Through these networks, women met others with professional ambitions, compared notes about their struggles, and formed a sense of solidarity as marginalized members of the art community. In this way, women’s involvement with printmaking at midcentury fostered a range of proto-feminist attitudes and practices, such as collaboration, network building, and collegial support. This exhibition, loosely centered around Atelier 17, the avant-garde printmaking studio located in New York City between 1940 and 1955, suggest how these artists made technical advances within the graphic arts while simultaneously contributing to the growth of feminist networks and practices of collective action and collaboration.

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