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Issue Date: April 2011

Forces of Nature

Convivium33's upcoming exhibit, 21st Century Expressions of the Second Sex, asks 15 female artists to contribute works that best communicate their points of view.
Chris Sweeney

The female figure emerges from a cocoon, moths circling all around her. In the eyes of artist Cathie Bleck, the woman depicted is a mythological heroine, a beautiful spirit sacrificing for the good of others.

"Women, by nature, nurture," Bleck says. "My work has very much to do with nurturing. ... When people say 'mother,' the connotations of that is something on a deep level of beauty, almost sort of sacrificial, that things are greater than they are."

Bleck is one of 15 regional artists featured in Convivium33's latest exhibit: 21st Century Expressions of the Second Sex. Artists featured in the exhibit, which runs April 3 through May 8, were asked to contribute a piece that best showcased their voice and point of view.

"It's about women from the region that are from different points in their life and different disciplines," explains curator Alenka Blanco.

Since opening Convivium33 in 2005, Blanco always wanted to have an all-female show but wanted it to be built around a larger idea. "When I first approached the women about this show, I couldn't really explain what I wanted," she says. "I wasn't looking for a feminist show. I wanted something real; I wanted them to feel connected to the subject."

Blanco settled on 15 artists she's always admired and wanted to feature at Convivium33. In addition to Bleck, the show will include works by Susan Squires, Audra Skuodas, Barbara Stanczak and Angelica Pozo.

Pozo has chosen to display a series of ceramic sculptures that, when exhibited together, replicate a bed of flowers. Throughout her career, which started in 1984 as an independent artist, she's dealt with plants, nature and the flower form. As Pozo progressed, the flower has become a symbol of femininity in her work.

"Looking at nature, plants are one of the lowliest of the pyramid of living things." Pozo says. "They are weaker, yet they have their strengths. I mirror that with femininity. We are the supposedly weaker sex, yet we have our own strengths and ways to be strong and powerful within our own means."

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