29th Street Women

Shannon Amidon

Five Pacific Northwest artists: Shannon Amidon, Barb Burwell, Pamela Chipman, Kim Lakin, and Kirista Trask pay homage to  mid-20th century abstract women artists who have inspired them in their creative endeavors. 29th Street Women is an exhibition of contemporary art that connects and honors the legacy of these trail-blazing women; presenting their stories and creations. Each 29th Street artists has adopted one of the mid-century abstract women artists as their inspiration in the work exhibited at VCA.

Lee Krasner, Elaine deKooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler were groundbreaking for their time as women artists and for their contribution to abstract art. Boldly shattering the art worlds expectations of ‘women artists’ they painted in unconventional ways, challenging the norms of traditional painting. Working and exhibiting in NYC beginning in the mid-1900s, these women are referred to as the Ninth Street Women in Mary Gabriel’s book “Ninth Street Women” which traces the intersecting lives and careers of the five women painters, all of whom were part of the historic artist-organized exhibition “Ninth Street Show” in New York in 1951. A fascinating, hyper-detailed portrait of the post-war avant-garde art scene in New York, the book paints vibrant portraits of its main characters as well as the New York art scene of the time.

Artists Shannon Amidon (encaustic), Barb Burwell (mixed media, fiber), Pamela Chipman (photography, video),  Kim Lakin (mixed media, fiber) and Kirista Trask (painting) comprise the exhibition 29th Street Women which honors the Ninth Street Women, not by copying or imitating a particular style of work, but rather by connecting to the themes, intent, and life experiences of the artists. The 29th Street Women will be showing newly created paintings, fiber sculpture, encaustic, mixed media  and photography will be exhibited alongside short biographies of the iconic Ninth Street Women, and personal statements about how these women have influenced and inspired them.

The five women in this exhibit comprise a critique group which meets monthly at Pamela Chipman’s studio on NW 29th Street – an industrial building converted to artist studios in Portland. Colleagues Burwell and Chipman formed the critique group for women artists to meet regularly for input and professional support.