The starting point for the exhibit Breaking Down Barriers: 300 Years of Women in Art at the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, South Carolina is the work of Henrietta Johnston. Johnston, known as the first female professional artist in America, began working as a pastel portrait artist after arriving in American around 1708. She sold her work to friends and local collectors to help financially support her family. The largest collection of Johnston’s work is actually part of the permanent collection at the Gibbes Museum.
From this colonial moment, the exhibit moves forward with works by female artists in varying styles and mediums such as watercolorist Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, etcher Elizabeth O’Neil Verner, photographer Margaret Bourke-White and basket weaver Mary Jackson. The span of artistic merit is only amplified by framing the exhibit within the social and educational challenges women artists have experienced over the last 300 years.
Breaking Down Barriers: 300 Years of Women in Art at the Gibbes Museum will be on display until January 8, 2012. The exhibit was drawn from the permanent collection at the museum.
Tags: museum exhibits