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Kristina Bowersmith

March 20, 2012

Art: Ink, art and ladies

Liberty Tattoo pays tribute to Women’s History Month

The great thing about an art show in a tattoo parlor is that it makes total sense. What else are you supposed to do while getting inked other than look around? In celebration of Women’s History Month, Liberty Tattoo and Art Parlor is giving patrons and visitors something worth looking at: the work of 20 emerging local female artists.

The works, created in a variety of media, are hung salon-style on the gallery’s two temporary exhibition walls. On the day I went to check out the exhibit (admittedly my first time at Liberty), someone was getting a tattoo not 3 feet from where I stood. Like tableside restaurant flambé, the juxtaposition of artwork and someone being tattooed was kind of titillating. I walked carefully and quietly. As the tattoo gun buzzed, people were careful to speak in slow and relaxed tones.

Suzanne Edds, co-owner of Liberty, sourced the work through her connections in the community, making sure to reach out to artists of diverse disciplines and backgrounds. Ceramics, textiles, paintings and screen prints showcase the variety of the women making art in our community. Anna Cutsinger’s “The Two Horses” is a great example of Edds’ attention to curatorial detail and her commitment to representing women of all ages: Cutsinger is a mere 8 years old.

Displayed alongside Cutsinger’s ponies are artworks both serious and humorous. Maggie Peavler’s tiny dioramas in food tins, “Pigs in Space,” is a collection of visual tidbits, while Kristina Bowersmith’s “He Knows Skywalker” painting is a mod, “Star Wars”-inspired spoof reminiscent of John Wesley paintings. Tracy Parker’s stoneware “Eyepod” is a literal interpretation of the ubiquitous music storage device — this time depicted as a peapod full of human eyeballs. Edds’ own “Shed #1” is a seemingly bloody stack of clay knuckles on a wooden plaque. Scary, funny, confessional and decorative, the works show how open the 21st century art world is to women’s influence.

Admittedly, a women’s art show is an idea that many people dismiss as passé. Beyond the facts of biology, is there anything that a group of women has more in common than any other group of people? The answer is yes — they inherit the yoke of history as surely as their family names. This small show, however, seems to bypass that hurdle, with no particular political point to make and nothing in particular to prove to anyone — the ultimate sign of arrival.

As a business owner and artist, Edds is celebrating women’s history by spotlighting the possibilities for women to express themselves in whatever medium and manner they see fit, both as a birthright and the result of the struggles of our foremothers and fathers. Whether it’s art on your skin, or art on the wall, Liberty’s show celebrates women and their work in the world.

Women’s Art Show
Through March 31
Liberty Tattoo and Art Parlor
2801 S. Third St. • 637-4777
libertytattooandart.com