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Women to Watch 2018: Women in Metal

Vivian de Beer (b. 1977), Current, 2004, Steel and automotive paint
Women to Watch 2018 is the fifth installment in NMWA’s exhibition series that features emerging or underrepresented artists from the states and countries in which NMWA has outreach committees.

This exhibition will focus on the use of metal as a medium. From the ornamental to the functional, women have been involved in metal work for hundreds of years. NMWA’s own collection boasts superb examples of silverwork crafted by eighteenth-century women such as Hester Bateman and Elizabeth Godfrey. While women often work with cast metals such as bronze, artists in this exhibition enthusiastically explore both the physical properties and expressive possibilities of metalwork. Objects will range from vessels to jewelry to conceptual applications.

Long considered to be the work of men, metalsmithing was considered by many to be too physical and grueling for women. At the turn of the twentieth century, artist Madeline Yale Wynne wrote: "The reason there are not more women engaged in the metal work is because women have learned so little to depend upon themselves that they have neglected their opportunities and disparaged their ability to do things.” Women to Watch 2018 will demonstrate that, in fact, contemporary artists carry on a vibrant legacy in metalwork.

Chunghi Choo (b. 1938), Decanters, 1986, Electroformed copper, silver plated
In the modern and contemporary eras, artists have used metals to create a broad range of objects, from the functional furniture of Vivian Beer to the minimalist jewelry of Betty Cooke to the purely aesthetic abstractions of Claire Falkenstein or Ruth Asawa. Other prominent artists who work with metal, either exclusively or in part, include Meret Oppenheim, Eve Hesse, Chunghi Choo, Lynda Benglis, Michele Oka Doner, Jin-Sook So, Isa Genzken, Mary Giles, Cristina Iglesias, Maya Lin, Jenny Edlund, Michelle McKinney, Teresita Fernández and Helen Marten.

Women to Watch 2018 will be presented on the Museum's second floor in Gallery 2G and will be on view from mid-June through mid-September 2018.