John Wesley’s “Showgirls”
No, it’s not what you might think. Nobody’s suggesting you go over and wander around Memphis’ most prominent art museum and check out the female patrons. But the folks at the Brooks would like for you to check out chief curator Marina Pacini’s current exhibition of some of the museum’s notable artworks featuring women. And yes, it’s called “Looking at Women.”
The exhibit features a wide range of styles, genres, and generations, including modern works and some from long ago. The common theme is the feminine image, from John Wesley’s pop-ish "Showgirls" to Russian painter Savely Sorine’s more traditional "Portrait of Mrs. Harvey Gibson" (pictured below).
And as the catalogue suggests, much depends on who is observing: “Who is doing the looking — the subject and/or the viewer — complicates our understanding of all these artworks. How the artist chose to portray the figure — naturalistically or abstractly, sympathetically, clinically, or playfully — affects how we respond to the image. What other factors might affect our response to these images?”
Indeed. “Looking at Women” is an evocative and sometimes provocative exhibit. And this is your last week to check it out. It closes Sunday, March 8.