International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women and serves as a platform for gender equality. Our current contemporary exhibition Third Space /shifting conversations about contemporary art is a natural place for the BMA to begin a conversation about contemporary women artists and their work.
Third Space boasts work by 30 female artists, including Laylah Ali, Ghada Amer, Merritt Johnson, Larissa Lockshin, Mary Whitfield, and more. Their works tackle a wide range of issues, from race and gender inequalities to the impacts of war and environmental degradation. Many present images that are designed to challenge the viewer’s perceptions, but all inspire some sort of inner reflection.
While objects are rotated in and out throughout this two-year exhibition, here are five women artists whose works are on view right now in Third Space.
- Mickalene Thomas— American artist Mickalene Thomas challenges the depiction of women in western art history. She often positions the sitter in a traditionally western pose and models them in the fashion of 70’s Black Power female figures. Do What Makes You Satisfied is from her She Works Hard for the Money series.
- Ebony G. Patterson— Born in Kingston, Jamaica, mixed-media artist Ebony G. Patterson is known for her vibrant, highly adorned images and objects intended to attract and seduce viewers to take a closer look. Her work questions gender norms and explores Jamaican dancehall culture. She often examines identity and taboos that surround the female body. The next time you’re in Third Space, take a closer look at Patterson’s Among the weeds, plants, and peacock feathers. Do you see the hidden figure?
- Merritt Johnson— Artist Merritt Johnson’s Native American heritage inspires her work. Crow booming the One Big Water, Gulls flying away references the devastation caused by the 2010 explosion of the British Petroleum oil rig, Deepwater Horizon, and its impact on the environment.
- Sue Williamson— South African artist Sue Williamson’s Mementoes of District Six (1993) is an immersive installation that humanizes the total destruction of an entire area in South Africa during Apartheid. It highlights similarities between post-apartheid conditions and the result of segregation in the American South.
- Emma Amos— Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Emma Amos often explores issues concerning politics, gender, race, and cultural history through her work. She combines the practices of printmaking, painting, and textile. Measuring, Measuring deals with racial stereotypes and the standards of beauty.
WITH ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FROM
Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, City of Birmingham, Robert R. Meyer Foundation, Luke 6:38 Foundation, Susan Mott Webb Charitable Trust, Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Alabama Tourism Department, Alabama Humanities Foundation, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Lydia Eustis Rogers Fund, and the Friends of Third Space.