She Works Hard...

Beyond recalling Donna Summer's anthem of 1983, the exhibition She works hard… focuses on representations of women working and women's work. In the history of western art, female artists were regulated to the more "minor" forms of artistic expression such as needlepoint, watercolour, and porcelain painting. Nor was the subject of women working often considered worthy of depiction. With the advent of modernism in 1850, female artists slowly moved into the traditionally male dominated art world, many of them taking inspiration from their domestic settings. With the rise of the women's movement in the 1970s, the last four decades have seen women artists and the topic of women's work gain considerable presence.

Presented beside the work of several significant Canadian and American contemporary artists is the work created by exceptionally talented Inuit artists that depicts their life from their perspective which often reflects a pre-settlement lifestyle of the 1950s and 1960s. By bringing together images of women in the act of working and examples of women's work, various associations come to bear in the understanding of these terms. Created by both male and female artists, all the pieces have been drawn from The Winnipeg Art Gallery's permanent collection. This exhibition aims to reveal various connections between the artworks, artists, identities, and cultures presented by considering alternate narratives and re-examining the role of intent in terms of the work of women.

Exhibition supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Dominique Rey, Mahogany, 4 years, 2003.


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