As one of the largest exhibitions of women artists from across Texas, this year’s fair marks the first return since the beginning of the pandemic.
Dallas-based artist Vicki Meek, the juror for the fair, said the exhibition is important because women are one of the largest groups of graduates from art schools but are not proportionately represented in museums and curated art spaces.
“So these kinds of shows should be obsolete, but they’re not because of that statistic,” Meek said. “So I’m always looking for opportunities to uplift women who are doing art.”
Meek said she carefully selected works from over 170 women applicants to capture a wide range of mediums and timely themes from immigration to body image.
“Either they were doing something that I always say as an artist that I’d want to steal from them or they were doing something that I felt like it was a comment that had to be amplified and shown here in Dallas,” she said.
One of the artists whose work will be featured in the fair is Ann Johnson, an experimental printmaker from the Houston area. Her two self-portraits, which are printed on birch tree bark, will be shown at the fair as part of her series “See Me.” The pieces explore the anti-Black mammy stereotype, “particularly women who have to take care of someone else’s family before they can take care of their own.”
“So that whole idea of being seen and dealing with the negative stereotypes associated with Aunt Jemima and mammy and large women, black women especially, so I’ve been dealing with that for the last couple of years,” she said. “Showing the impact of not being seen as a whole person and dealing with assumptions and stereotypes.”
Johnson said she’s grateful for the opportunity to show her art in the Vignette Fair which highlights the work of female artists from diverse backgrounds.
“We’re here. This art world is a male dominated art world,” she said. “To have such a strong presence in a major city, that’s saying something.”
Ultimately, she wants viewers to do what she tells her students at Prairie View A&M University: look into the art — not at it.
“Have conversations with the artists that are there. You may view it a certain way, but their intention may have been something different.”
The Vignette Art Fair will be open to the public on Friday, Oct. 14 and Saturday, Oct. 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Freeway Hall inside Dallas Market Hall.
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Got a tip? Email Elizabeth Myong at Emyong@KERA.org. You can follow Elizabeth on Twitter @Elizabeth_Myong.