Women, Hips & Fruit: Phelan Meek
November 2 - November 21, 1999
Phelan Meek creates a marvelous new medium with her steel paintings. The current exhibition is the result of several years work refining and reworking female images of the past. Phelan transforms reclining women whose primary purpose is to be attractive to the male viewer into strong yet pliable women who relish their solitude. By cutting and welding curves out of metal and painting the steel in vibrant colors Phelan makes a masculine medium feminine. Her women with their bountiful hips and curvaceous fruit suggest most of all that a woman's potency lies in her ability to produce life.
About her show Phelan commented "Hips take centrestage in all of these works. The hips or curves of the fruit and the hips of the women. To me a woman's hips being the repository of life are her strength. I, also, like bringing together the hardness of steel and the suppleness of paint. By cutting the curvaceous women and fruit out of steel and coating them with paint the cold, hard steel softens. It changes from masculine to feminine right before my eyes. At the same time while the figures are feminine they are made from steel and so take on an air of strength. The juxtaposition of hardness and softness, strength and resiliency, femininity and masculinity excites me."
Images from top to bottom: Fruit with Tablecloth, 1999, painted steel,36 x 30 inches; Still Life in Odalisque, 1998, painted steel, 29 x 48 inches; She's Got "It," 1996, 36 x 48 inches. Please click on images to enlarge them.
Foundry Gallery is located at 9 Hillyer Court, NW, Washington, DC 20008.
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