“Since art is the expression of beauty and beauty can be understood only in the form of the material elements of the true idea it contains, art has become almost uniquely feminine. Beauty is woman, and also art is woman.”

–      Rémy De Gourmont

SOHO20 Gallery continues to showcase the impressive and unique talent of female artists with free exhibits that include work by artists Sophia Peer, Mariangeles Soto-Diaz, and Elizabeth Bisbing available now until September 28.

Displayed on the right wall upon entry is Sophia Peer’s color photography collection titled “Series of Affair,” whose images fill the viewer’s eyes with what can be interpreted as a theme of emptiness.

The first image captures an empty bed with its canary yellow covers neatly tucked in. Hanging over the bed in this orderly set-up room with nightstands symmetrically on either side is a nightgown or housedress that an elderly woman would wear. This focal point garment on a hanger is dangled from a ceiling light fixture.

The second photograph shows an elderly women with short brown hair putting something into her mouth, one aging hand to lips, the other arm crossed around her waist. She wears a similar garment as seen in the first image and stares blankly off into the distance as she sits in a chair in a cluttered room. Although the room is full of random objects, it is the look in her eyes that is vacant.

The final photograph in this series shows an elderly man in classic blue jeans and a plaid shirt lying down on a couch. His moccasins lie under the coffee table, his belt drapes over it. One wrinkly hand is placed on the men’s stomach, while the other forms a “V,” tucked between the nape of his neck and the sofa. He wears a frown and his half-closed, drooping eyes stares off into the distance as if limberly living in a memory.

Peer also displays a 120-minute video, “Rock-Paper-Scissors” (2011) that is a performance art piece. The video shows Peer’s hand tracing the outlines of square and rectangle shapes such as photographs and books with a black colored pencil onto a white canvass.

The two new exhibits are “Color Felt” by Mariangeles Soto-Diaz and “More Life Than Still” by Elizabeth Bisbing. Soto-Diaz’s abstraction art links color to emotion. She used social media platforms to ask a community of friends, family, peers, and the public to translate certain feelings to specific colors, where she then created abstract paint images.

by artist Mariangeles Soto-Diaz
by artist Mariangeles Soto-Diaz

Soto-Diaz writes, “color and emotion are vast; both appear solid, yet are ultimately elusive, challenging out desire for universals.”

Artist Elizabeth Bisbing displays her collection “More Life Than Still,” which features delicate flowers and weeds created with cut paper. Some pieces include drawing with mini collage-like elements.

“Daylilies” from June 2012 is made up skinny green stems with both deep and vibrant orange pedals, and hints of rustic reds and yellowing greens.

“Choke Vine,” an invasive weed with psychedelic seeds, includes twisting vines that appear to be suffocating stem over a red background. The innocently colored pink and white bulb of petals bows down as if in mourning.

The collection features labels with paradoxical elements of fact and fiction. There are medicinal facts on some of the plants and weeds, which take root in reality. We also see fantasy as seen in the paper cut of wild thyme that in folklore was used in concoctions to enable one to see fairies.

Elizabeth Bisbing Bisbing’s stop-motion animation of Little Betty Jane brings her wildlife collection to life. As stated in the press release, “In these episodes distinguished by a disturbing humor- the wild side of nature turns into a metaphor for subliminal fears of mortality and internalized traumas.”

After Little Betty Jane is darkly swallowed by water and plant, Bisbing lightly ends the film with “No paper dolls were harmed in the process of making this film.”

New York City resident Bisbing has been a member of the Soho20 Gallery since 2002 and has had four solo shows and participated in several group shows at the gallery.

Located at 547 West 27 Street #301 in Chelsea, SOHO20 Gallery has been a platform for emerging female artists since the 1970s.

The space has given more than 200 artists the opportunity for exhibition, but also offers a mentor program for emerging beginners to learn from more established artists.

SOHO20 Gallery is one of the oldest organizations in the United Stated built to address the under-representation of women both in museums and galleries.

Gallery director Jenn Dierdorf shared that the non-profit is dedicated to supporting women in the arts, in one way, by debuting new work to for live audiences every Thursday for the rest of this month at 7 p.m. “And there will be wine,” Dierdorf added.

The Gallery has and continues to draw public awareness that there is a place for female artists in New York City.

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