Heavy Metal Women to Watch Exhibition at Gallery Kayafas

By Beth Treffeisen

From intricate sculptures, to mind boggling vessels, to beautiful jewelry, the metal work all crafted by Massachusetts’s women artists are sure to amaze any patron that visits Gallery Kayafas at 450 Harrison Ave., in the South End.

From Oct. 20 to 27, Gallery Kayafas will be featuring hand-built sculptures, vessels, and objects for personal adornment as part of the Women to Watch exhibition series where artists investigate and explore art through metalwork, long considered to be the domain of men.

“It is difficult for any emerging artist to get space anywhere,” said Arlette Kayafas of Gallery Kayafas at SoWa. “Women to Watch recognize the dedication and talent of the artists. It’s unselfish and it gives back in so many ways.”

Kayafas offered her space for the third time to feature the Massachusetts artists works saying it is the best way she can support emerging artists.

The Women to Watch exhibition program is held every two to three years and is developed by the National Museum of Women in Arts’ (NMWA) national and international outreach committees.

Each exhibition features emerging and underrepresented women artists from the states and countries in which the museum has outreach committees. The program is designed to increase the visibility of promising women artists who are deserving of national and international attention.

The five women artists for Massachusetts were chosen by Emily Zilber, Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick the curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The artists include Venetia Dale, Cynthia Eld, Linda Kindler Priest, Donna Veverka, and Heather White. These five artists’ works have been submitted to the National Museum of Women in the Arts for consideration for inclusion in the Heavy Metal / Women to Watch 2018 exhibition in Washington D.C. opening in June 2018.

Members of each committee work with NMWA staff to locate a contemporary art curator in their region to identify artists who are working in the medium or theme – this year being metalwork. The program began in 2008 and past themes included photography, sculptures, and fiber.

The curator then creates a shortlist of artists, and NMWA’s curators select from the shortlist the artist whose work will be featured in the exhibition at the museum.

Zilber said she chose artists based on their long portfolios and impressive work in the past. The exhibition, Zilber said will feature both old and new work from the artists.

“There are a number of different ways one can work with metal art making,” said Zilber. “There’s additive (a painter applying paint to a canvas), subtractive (carving a stone), and transformative (completely building something else that doesn’t exist in the world). Works with metal include all three of these forms.”

She continued, “It allows something familiar to us to look completely different in different contexts. These artists have been cultivating skills for a long time…how they transform in a thoughtful way the material make a significant impact.”

Kayafas, who is excited to host the show, said she is donating the space for free because emerging artists of any kind are having difficulty finding space to show their work.

“My husband and I have been collecting art for 50 years and art is not something most people budget for,” said Kayafas. “This gallery isn’t going to make us enough money to get a second home but it’s important to give young people a space to show art and show people it has value.”

She continued, “Whether it’s on your wall or your wearing it, it is enhancing your environment and state of mind for the day.”

The exhibition will run from Oct. 20 to 27 with the opening reception with artists on Friday, Oct. 20 from 6 – 8 p.m. Gallery Kayafas is located at 450 Harrison Ave., #37, Boston. RSVP on Web site www.ma-nmwa.org.

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