The Force at work / La Force en action

The Force at work / La Force en action
As the past is removed, a new beginning emerges.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Barbara Nessim - Conditions de fluidité @ Phi Center > 01.12.2017

Barbara Nessim @ Phi Center • Photos © Lena Ghio, 2017
The most wonderful artist I ever met, Barbara Nessim was in Montreal last month to accompany us on her first Montreal exhibition presented at Phi Center and curated by Cheryl Sims

She has worked on a sort of parallel course with the male artists of her time, for example Andy Warhol who worked as a graphic artist for magazines before becoming famous. Her college roommate was the famous feminist writer Gloria Steinem.

The beauty and strength of her work are its spirit, the colors and the way they reveal the psyche of a woman living through some of the greatest transformations of North American culture after World War II. Many of her lovely water colors show elegant young women with decapitated hands. It is clear that she had all the talent needed to be as recognized as her male counterparts but she wasn't. When I asked her about the meaning of the symbolism of the severed hands, a symbol used in art to signify powerlessness, she replied: " Yes, but always elegant. " To me it reveals the frustration she must have felt about these the sexism of those times.

She was one of the first artists to explore digital art. You will see some striking examples of this like Face to Face, 1984. You will see her work in chronological order starting with tiny prints she did while studying at Pratt Institute Man and Machine series, 1960; posters, oil paintings, her sketch books, collages, water colors, prints, and more.

 I enjoyed this exhibition very much and I just loved the stories Barbara Nessim told us. Ends December 1, 2017.

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