February 18, 2015

Women to Watch – Ohio

Cleveland Institute of Art
The artists included in Cleveland Institute of Art’s exhibition Women to Watch – Ohio, from left: Lauren Yeager, Christi Birchfield, Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson, Mimi Kato, and Eva Kwong. Photo: Robert Muller.

The under-appreciation of women artists is evident in museum collections, auction prices, and professional wages worldwide. While 51% of visual artists today are women, only 5% of work on American museum walls is by women. Work by women makes up only 5% of major permanent collections in the United States and Europe.

Women to Watch – Ohio, the exhibition on view in Cleveland Institute of Art’s Reinberger Galleries from April 2 through May 2, shines a light on sexism in the art world while celebrating five successful Ohio women artists who are pushing the boundaries of contemporary art: Lauren Yeager, Christi Birchfield, Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson, Mimi Kato, and Eva Kwong.

The exhibition opens to the public with a reception in Reinberger Galleries, 11141 East Boulevard, on Thursday, April 2, 6–8pm. The featured artists will participate in a panel discussion on women in the arts on Friday, April 10, at 12:15pm in the same building. Both events are free and open to the public. No registration is required.

Women to Watch – Ohio is presented in collaboration with the Ohio Advisory Group of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, D.C. NMWA National Advisory Board members Barbara Richter and Harriett Warm convened this influential group of Ohio women to support and promote Ohio women artists by advocating on their behalf and seeking exhibition opportunities. They recruited Cleveland curators Reto Thüring of the Cleveland Museum of Art and Rose Bouthillier of the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland to choose the artists. Reinberger Galleries Director Bruce Checefsky selected the works and is curating the exhibition with the assistance of Jen Rokoski, a graduate level curatorial intern from the Art History and Museum Studies program at Case Western Reserve University. The exhibition’s theme is women’s relationships to nature and art.

“Cleveland Institute of Art was founded in 1882 as the Western Reserve School of Design for Women and has educated generations of accomplished women artists since then,” said CIA President Grafton Nunes. “It is particularly fitting that CIA is co-sponsoring this exhibition, which showcases five women artists, highlights the hurdles that women artists face, and aligns with a significant exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington.”

The artists represented in the show work in diverse styles and media, including printmaking, textiles, photography, clay and installation.

Yeager’s investigations of everyday objects breathe new life into items like traffic cones, mirrors, and yellow no. 2 pencils. Printmaker Birchfield looks to both the natural and mechanical world in efforts to create her own nature morte that is anything but lifeless. Process is central to Jonsson’s textile-formed paintings, which become ghosts of the landscape of her native Iceland. Mood, experience and landscape are in conversation in Kato’s performative photomontages. Kwong’s ceramic sculptures are inspired by dualities in both macrocosmic and microcosmic environments. Both Yeager and Birchfield earned BFAs at CIA, where Birchfield now teaches in the Printmaking Department.

By virtue of their inclusion in the Ohio exhibition, all five artists were nominees for the international exhibition, Organic Matters – Women to Watch 2015, which will be on view at the NMWA from June 5 through September 13. Of the five, Kato was chosen by the NMWA curatorial team for inclusion in this international show.

Women to Watch – Ohio is supported in part by Huntington Bank and media sponsor ideastream. The exhibition is part of Community Works, CIA’s year-long exploration of socially engaged art. Community Works also included a fall 2014 exhibition and an academic conference in November that featured author and Berkeley professor Shannon Jackson as keynote speaker.


About Cleveland Institute of Art
Founded in 1882, the Cleveland Institute of Art is an accredited, independent college of art and design offering 15 majors in studio art, digital art, craft disciplines, and design. CIA extends its programming to the public through gallery exhibitions; lectures; a robust continuing education program; and the Cinematheque, a year-round art and independent film program.


Women to Watch – Ohio at Cleveland Institute of Art

Thank you!

An email with a confirmation link has been sent to the email address you entered. To complete your subscription, click this link.