Women artists across the US have enjoyed increasing chances to collaborate even though they may be separated geographically. The internet has allowed them to communicate with other artists around the world, and the explosion of workshops for the Boomer Generation has been another factor in forging friendships.
Easton artist Nancy Tankersley met Caroline Orrick, a San Francisco Bay artist, while teaching a workshop in France and through Orrick was invited to participate in this exhibit. Barnett knew Anne Garden, the organizer, from having had a studio in the same building when she did a Sabbatical in the Bay Area. Through Garden, she was invited to participate.
Tankersley and Barnett both have live/work spaces in Talbot County, and both are primarily portrait painters, observers of human gestures and interactions. They each majored in sociology in college and share a keen interest in community and activism.
Tankersley, a contemporary impressionist, branched off into landscapes through her participation in the plein air movement while maintaining her interest in figures. Barnett, a classical realist, branched off from painting portraits primarily of people to painting all members of the family, including their four-legged companions.
Both artists were allowed to express the subject, a portrait of an influential American woman, in any way they wanted, as long as it had a square format. They crafted the portraits in their own signature styles, using the background for personal expression.
Tankersley, imagining that Justice O’Connor might be looking askance at what recent years have done to our judicial system, has painted the scales of justice and the flag upside down.
Barnett, imagining our current Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen as a coin face icon, replaced the words “in God We Trust” with “in Janet We Trust”. Her goal was to stress that powerful leaders can rise to the top using collaborative, consensus-building style, warmth and humility. And build bi-partisan support in the process.
Exhibit organizer Anne Garden says: “Barrie’s portrait of Janet Yellen done in one of her signature pastel stylings with a touch of humor in the composition, shows the powerful yet quiet personality of a woman whose guidance of our US treasury has inspired awe in us all. Nancy’s portrait of Sandra Day O’Connor, our first female Supreme Court Justice , shows a woman of intelligence and understanding painted in a loose self-assured style using a bold palette.”
”I am thrilled that I was able to get two very accomplished female artists from the eastern seaboard area of the U.S. to volunteer their talents to this worthwhile show and cause. We thank you for creating these pieces for a show that is meant to educate all of us, and honor the legacies of all these women who have contributed to our progress in America.”