Girls With Guns exhibit is revolutionary
Master printmaker Jenny Schmid has curated a
remarkable show of prints titled Girls With Guns. Here Schimid asks
the question, what if only girls had guns? She then asked 10 other
printmakers, men and women, to submit works dealing with this subject.
The outcome is a strong and vital show. Each artist has approached
the subject differently, of course. We see interpretations that
are sexy, maternal, vengeful and bizarre. Girls With Guns is a revolutionary
concept with revolutionary tendencies.
Valerie Wallace’s “Mr. And Mrs. Jack Sprat” is
a woodblock print laid on a silkscreen. A woman and man stare directly
at the viewer, American Gothic style. The woman holds a gun pointed
at the man’s stomach, the man has an erect penis pointed at
her belly. He is without pants, she is without shirt. There is a
bottle on the man’s head which adds a little levity to the
serious and slightly twisted feel of the piece. This mismatched
couple is carved out of wood with beautiful woodblock choppy line,
somewhat reminiscent of German Expressionism. Behind them is a bucolic
western landscape complete with blue sky and buffalo.
Alexa Horochowski’s silkscreen print “Vaquera”
features a prepubescent girl dressed in cowgirl gear, with pigtails.
She kneels on the ground with guns aimed high as if to start shooting
wildly, her face is playful yet calm. Above the little girl a ribbon
comes out of the gun and swirls around her head, with the words
“Viva La Revolution” written on it. Horochowski’s
line is sure and clean, her drawing masterfully done. The girl is
placed on a wood grain panel-like background. The combination of
seated girl and the wood grain panel create a dynamic composition.
A skillfully complete piece.
Ruthann Godellie’s monotype “Now Talk” is very
stark, and very dark. Black ink on green paper depicts a hand firmly
gripping a gun. On the wrist there is a sweet little pink and lavender
bracelet, a tribute to the feminine? The words “Now Talk”
are written above. Direct and powerful. There is no disputing the
meaning of this piece. “Now Talk” is simple and to the
point. This piece brings into fruition every woman’s fantasy.
Jenny Schmid’s piece “The Pathetic End to Machismo”
is a narrative piece in which the main character is a teenaged girl,
with a very large head. Her sizable face is sweet and slightly complacent,
with the hint of a mischievous smile. On her bicep, our heroine
has the ubiquitous tattoo of the rebel, a heart with “Mother”
written on it, and a sword going through it. Her outfit is comprised
of a short dress, cowboy boots, and a girl’s most important
accessory, a large shotgun. Under the heel of one of her beautifully
drawn boots she pins a red devil. This devil, complete with forked
tail, pointy teeth and snarling expression has ‘Machismo’
tattooed in large letters across his body. This marvelous female
points the gun directly at his head. In the background behind our
heroine are a series of girls’ heads with snake bodies. These
figures blow air at illustrations of lascivious acts, as if to make
them go away. Schmid’s colors are cheery blues, with rich
reds and browns. This piece has a wonderful feel of gentle yet deliberate
action being taken. Our bigheaded girlfriend seems confidant, focused
and able. Everything you want in a woman.
Michael Barnes’ “Untitled” etching is spare but
succinct. A shrouded machine gun points deliberately into space.
The black shroud on the gun is odd, but the apple perched on the
little table attached to the machine gun is even odder. The culmination
of fruit, gun and cloak create a bizarre hooded creature. This piece
has an ominous spooky feeling. Is the apple a reference to Eve?
Or is this the feminization of machine gun use? Having a lovely
snack while you blow things away with your Gatling gun?
The Girls with Guns prints occupy half of the gallery. The other
half houses more prints by these artists. This is one of the best
print shows by contemporary artists in a long time. Nice to see
Kellie Rae Theiss showing such interesting work.
Girls With Guns continues through Aug. 30. Kellie Rae Theiss
Gallery, 400 1st Ave. N., Suite 318, Mpls. Gallery Hours: Tue.–Fri.
11 a.m.–5 p.m. & Sat. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. 612-339-1094.