Fierce Women: Paintings by Katherine Strause

Fierce Women: Paintings by Katherine Strause image

Event Details

Dates: 2/2/2024 - 3/8/2024
Times: 9 AM - 4 PM
Price: FREE
Venue: UAFS Gallery of Art & Design
532 N. Waldron Rd. Fort Smith, AR 72903


Come see Fierce Women: Paintings by Katherine Strause on view through March 8 at the UAFS Gallery of Art and Design, Monday-Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM! Free and open to the public!

Artist Statement

"The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion." – Camus

I want to believe that women are in charge. I enjoy watching women take control in subversive and playful ways. My paintings contain the spirit of that rebellion. The figures are on a mission of change; they lack inhibitions, are confident, and have hope for the future. They are in full possession of themselves, in charge of their space, bodies, feelings, and actions. They will not sit down and be quiet.
The works begin with found photographs of women. The subjects are experiencing a moment of clarity and complete independence. I look for a quality of liberty in the attitude of the sitter. They shake off constraints and stare the viewer down.

Naturally, I was drawn to images of cowgirls, outlaws, and ranch women. Daughters of pioneer ranchers grew up riding and roping along with their brothers because, on small ranches, everyone helped with the cattle. At the heart of cowgirl culture lies a spirit of independence, resilience, and adventure. These strong women of the Wild West were often the backbone of their communities, demonstrating courage, resourcefulness, and an unyielding sense of self.

The images have a magical appeal and are reminiscent of artists such as Grant Wood, Carroll Cloar, Pierre Bonnard, and Alice Neel. Layering saturated color with brushstrokes and wet-on-wet application increases the vibration and visual play of the work. This focus on the expressive application of paint and extravagant use of color transforms the black-and-white snapshots into dynamic, energetic

The work is not purely documentary or nostalgic. Using old photos of unknown sitters gives us a link to our collective past and brings a feeling of comfort and belonging. These figures represent us all and guide us in overcoming struggle. This work addresses the idea of transcendence, hope, and transformation. They demonstrate courage and strength. They are about women, now and then, who are breaking free and energetically strutting their way past any limitations.

Artist Bio

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