They found each other on a Facebook group called “35 Women of Expressive Abstracts” dedicated to what they love the most: abstract art. Over the last year, they became each other’s sounding boards, always encouraging each other to express themselves through their art. They bonded through their mentor and teacher Steven Aimone, whose teachings based on his book “Expressive Drawing”, gave them the tools and exercises to explore their particular art form.
Twenty-five of the women from 12 different states have organized an extensive abstract art exhibition called “Inside Out: Expressing Our Inner Voices” from September 4 through October 12, with an opening reception from 5:30-7 p.m. September 6 at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Campus’ Center for the Arts. The same exhibition showed at North Charleston City Gallery in August.
“Some of these artists are nationally and internationally known, some are novices,” said Penny Beesley, a member from Beaufort who is organizing the local event. “There will be large, explosive pieces and small intimate ones.”
Abstract Expressionism is a movement that started in New York in the 1940s. It remained a largely male-dominated scene for decades — sidelining women abstract artists who were coming out of this movement. Those women — Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, Grace Hartigan, Judith Godwin and more — have inspired many of the women from “Inside Out.”
“Inside Out” celebrates female artists at a time when more women are speaking up and being noticed across a wide spectrum of issues.
Through online group social media pages and in-person workshops, the students of Steven Aimone connect daily with dynamic art that allows them to hone their skills and truly capture their own perspective.
“We, as artists, thrive from seeing other's abstract works,” said Melinda Hoffman, a participating artist from South Carolina. “We brainstorm painting surfaces. We talk about ways to hang work. We talk about motivators and share our painting ‘ups and downs’ with each other. We share gallery shows and let everyone see what we are doing in our town.”
Peggy Vineyard, a participating artist from North Carolina, said she hopes that “Inside Out” will help people understand abstract art better — that it’s a unique medium where creative artists work from within to create something “meaningful, thoughtful and beautiful.” Abstract art offers a unique outlet to express an array of emotions — love, fear, freedom, frustration and joy — because there are no rules.
“I think the shared language means our love for thinking and painting outside of the box — from deep unconscious feelings and working from our intuition,” said Vineyard.
Participating artists are: Andrea Baetti, GA; Penny Beesley, SC; Juanita Bellavance, GA; Billie Bourgeois, LA; Carolyn Busenlener MS; Annette Cargill, OH; Mary Beth Cornelius, GA; Annette Crosby, GA; Bre Barnett Crowell, NC; Debbie Ezell, GA; Melinda Hoffman, SC; Marcia Holmes, LA; Gayle Hurley, AL; Suzanne Jacquot, CA; Annette Margulies, FL ;Thyra Moore, MD; Wendy Nicholas, FL; Vicki Overstreet, MS; Kate Pendleton, GA; Betty Perry, GA; Nancy Perry, SC; Garnet Reardon, GA; Kathy Blankley Roman, IL; Nell Tilton, LA and Peggy Vineyard, NC