Northword Magazine, intimate art feature

Intimate art

🕔Dec 09, 2005

A unique art initiative is charting its way into the Northwest during the upcoming winter months.

Mapping the Intimate is a collective women’s art show scheduled to open in February, 2006, at the Terrace Art Gallery. It is a supportive, grassroots venture, featuring creations inspired from one’s own life, while encouraging artists that may never have considered sharing with others in a public forum.

“I am challenging myself to participate in an art show,” says Anne Huston, a social worker/closet artist from Terrace. “It’s also exciting to think about creating a piece of art that will honour a corner of my life which belongs with my girls.”

Hannah, her oldest daughter, will also be showing her work for the first time. As well as offering an accessible, safe venue to introduce work, the show has sparked much contemplation on how to personally interpret the theme.

Mapping the Intimate offers an opportunity for self-reflection and self-discovery.

“The exploration into my understanding of intimacy is just starting to awaken as I reach the mid point of my life,” says Smithers-based artist Linda Stringfellow, who is also participating in the show. “I realize that it is connected to being vulnerable and safe and when I choose to share with others, using visual art, written words, or acts of love, this exploration nourishes me to grow.”

This process is empowering for the viewer as well. Stringfellow reflects that the subject matter is “an opportunity to ask questions, and a time to define what intimacy means to you in your life right now, or how it has changed over the years.” The theme can also challenge society’s messages, which often alienate people from one other, participants say.

“We have been inundated through media with images of intimacy that are actually impersonal, commercial and degrading,” states Leanne Boschman-Epp, a Prince Rupert poet/artist/instructor who is looking forward to contributing to the show.

“I like the concept of women artists exploring this theme of connection and producing images/texts that reflect authenticity and diversity. The concept of mapping also broadens historical associations that often do not fit into women’s common experiences,” she expands.

Mapping has been connected to conquest, or a means to exploit the land, Boschman-Epp explains. “Mapping used to discover what we cherish as women, our struggles and joys, what is sacred to us; that appeals to me.”

This appeal is apparent in the wide range of mediums that will be present. Women artists have responded enthusiastically. They will be expressing and owning their interpretations of intimacy using everything from acrylic, pottery and stained glass to the written word.

This enthusiasm is certainly something to look forward to during the dark, winter months, when at times one seeks a path to guide the way, organizers say.