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Dallas-based Green Family Art Foundation spotlights emerging female artists in new show

"Untitled (Study for my dad's next wife)," by Issy Wood, Oil on velvet, 2021
Green Family Art Foundation
"Untitled (Study for my dad's next wife)," by Issy Wood, Oil on velvet, 2021

Before moving into its new home, the Green Family Art Foundation brings together 28 works by women.

The Green Family Art Foundation's new show puts the spotlight on female artists' perspectives.

Women of Now: Dialogues of Memory, Place & Identity features 28 works about the artists' experiences: confrontational, witty, repressed and evolving.

This is the foundation's second show in a physical place. It's also the last show in its Design District home. The GFAF's new, permanent space will be on Flora Street in the Dallas Arts District, and is set to open in June.

For Women of Now, co-curators Clare Milliken and Bailey Summers worked closely with artists to bring their works to Texas. They felt that what these artists have to say was lacking here.

The foundation's mission, Milliken said, is "putting on great programming of contemporary artists that we're really passionate about. The Green's collection has a strong focus in artists of color, female artists and LGBTQ artists."

Milliken said the exhibition is about "fusing different memories together and how that informs your personhood later on in life."

Cheyenne Julien, an artist originally from the Bronx, uses her work to convey growing up in a racially segregated New York as a young black girl. She played in the streets because she had no access to the city's beautiful parks. In the painting, Day Session, a female figure is painted with a white stripe that obscures her body.

"It's a really seemingly playful work when you look at it," Milliken said. But there's a weightiness to it. For Milliken and Summers, Day Session portrays the invalidation Julien has felt, the whitewashing of her identity and her community's problems.

"Captain" by Danica Lundy, Oil on canvas, 2020
Green Family Art Foundation
"Captain" by Danica Lundy, Oil on canvas, 2020

Danica Lundy's painting, Captain, pulls from two specific memories of hers. The first is Citibank by Aaron Gilbert, a painting that depicts a male figure holding a note on a glass wall in front of a woman.

"It's kind of sinister," Summers said, "you can't see what's on the note."

Lundy couples this memory with the unraveling of the USA Gymnastics team abuse scandal. Lundy's own experiences as a female adolescent athlete led to her creation of Captain.

"The first thing you see is the inside of a car and then this young girl with her back pushed up against the car," Summers said. "And there's a man standing over her with his arms kind of in the car around her, hovering over her in this very foreboding way."

"Riverwood 5," by Hayley Barker, Oil on linen, 2021
Green Family Art Foundation
"Riverwood 5," by Hayley Barker, Oil on linen, 2021

For Hayley Barker's work Riverwood 5, the artist drew from her fond memories of growing up in Oregon in a region her family nicknamed Riverwood.

"Unfortunately, a lot of areas on the West Coast have suffered damage from wildfires," Milliken said — including Riverwood. "This painting is a homage to its former beautiful state, but also it's a hopeful wish for it to come back."

Milliken and Summers hope that Women of Now sparks conversations of what it means to be a woman today, and that viewers come away from the exhibition feeling empowered.

"We've been working with this material for months and months," Summers said. But it wasn't until they were in the gallery surrounded by 28 works of art by women that Summers felt it was empowering. "And I can say that I've never had an experience like that."

UPDATE 2.17.22: This post was updated to correct the spelling of Aaron Gilbert's name.

Women of Now: Dialogues of Memory, Place & Identityis open now through May 22, 2022 at The Green Family Art Foundation in Dallas' Design District.

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