THE EYE OF MIRIAM SCHAPIRO -- Through February 3 at Washington Women's Arts Center, 1821 Q Street NW.
The vision of Miriam Schapiro is the unifying theme of a new show of paintings, sculpture, drawings and photography at the Washington Women's Arts Center. It's a collection of soft images that range from collages of old lace, valentines and tintypes to vaginal iconography and vibrant watercolors or oils depicting everyday activities.
"We are making intimate, sentimental, perverse, bizarre, trivial statements -- all self-designated as art, all having to do with a woman's sensibility and not necessarily with the neutral and sparsely elegant statements familiar to mainstream art," Schapiro once said.
She first achieved recognition for her abstract paintings in New York during the '50s and '60s; in 1970, after storming the Whitney Museum to protest the paucity of women's art on the walls, she moved to California and teamed up with sculptor-painter Judy Chicago in a women's art network. There Schicago in switched from paint to "femmages": collages using old fabrics, photographs, beads and anything else women had traditionally used in their art.
Schapiro's agreement to jury the WWAC show drew 447 submissions, from which she chose 49 works. While technique was important in her selections, Schapior acknowleges that equal emphasis was placed on pieces demonstracting a strong personal statement. She looked for works that communicated a mythology and language common to women and that would also be harmonious with each other in the show.