Megan Norman reviews POST-her for BURNAWAY.
POST-her offers diverse views of Modern Women
I ventured to the opening of POST-her at Jackson Fine Art’s new Westside Project Space hoping to see quality art presented around a strong central concept. I was not disappointed. The show displays a wide variety of portraits of women, all exhibited in the same format, that challenge the idea of traditional portraiture. POST-her contains 19 posters (24 x 36 inches) each created by a different artist. A majority of the artists are photographers, but notable exceptions include a watercolor of Botticelli’s Venus by Katherine Taylor and a drawing by Shana Robbins. The posters line the gallery held up by straight pins, similar to how a teenybopper hangs posters of their favorite boy band. The presentation is simple and unpretentious, as a poster should be. And all the proceeds from the posters, which are $50 each, will be divided among the artists. Portraits of women throughout the history of art are limited. Before the 18th century, portraits were usually of royalty or the aristocracy who could afford to commission a portrait of themselves or family members by a skilled painter. They are shown in the latest fashion and trends of the time to highlight their beauty, their appearance often manipulated to improve their looks. The invention of photography made portraiture more accessible, and one can argue, documented a more realistic image of a person. Since photography was introduced, however, portraiture was forced to evolve and change. Photography has become more accessible over the years, to the point where we all get dozens of holiday portraits from friends and family members. Thus, portraiture is no longer confined to the wealthy. In the portraits on display in POST-her, the subjects are all women, and mostly consist of the artists themselves, their friends and family, as well as models. The eclectic mix portrays different types of women, suggesting that today’s woman can be many different things, potentially offering another meaning to the title POST-her.