Artist Mara Torres González opened MARA Art Studio + Gallery in August of last year, and it's poised to display the power of female creativity with a modern art exhibit called WOMXN: Together for Art. It's “not themed around the pandemic, but shows how hard we've worked through these difficult times and what we can contribute regardless,” González says.
As for the spotlight on women, she's wanted to collaborate with a group of talented female artists for a while, and curated them and their pieces to showcase the breadth of unabashed expression each one brings.
The exhibit, opening July 9, will display mixed media pieces comprised mostly of paintings, but photography from a student of Ringling College of Art + Design and a pottery and painting duo will also be featured. While most of the work is in the abstract expressionist style, “everyone's work is very different,” González, originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, says. "In abstract, everyone sees something different."
That means the show will be punctuated with bold streaks of color, animated shapes and texture.
González’ work is inspired by social injustice and the ferocity and beauty of nature. Before moving to Sarasota, she survived Hurricane Maria when it wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico in 2017. Her work, which will also be on display, is created with a type of hot wax and resin and often incorporates the color blue.
"I want to give the viewer an emotional experience and help them identify themselves by invoking a voice in them," she says.
Grace Howl, a self-taught local artist known for vibrant, big art that can’t help but make a statement, is also among the featured artists.
“Colors replace words. When people look at my work, I want to stir their imagination. I'm OK if they don't care for it. I use really bold, strong colors because it's my emotions coming out in the art and I want people to have a visceral reaction,” she says.
Midge Johnson, another featured local artist at the WOMNX: Together for Art exhibit, uses a mix of textures and tools to make marks in her pieces and sometimes uses sanding as part of her creation process.
“While you won't be led to a particular subject, you might see something that appears naturally to you. When you see it, maybe you see something I don't see, and it's stimulating your own memories. Viewing my work is interactive,” she says.
The gallery also offers art workshops slated to kick off in October.
Meet the artists of WOMXN: Together for Art on July 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. at MARA Art Studio + Gallery, 1521 Fifth Street, Suite A, Sarasota, (941) 914-8110.