The duality of roles women play may not be the first topic of concern when discussing feminism. However, for Sarah Rowland and Rossitza Todorova, who curated the “Third Wave” art exhibit at Tempe Marketplace Night Gallery, it was a topic that needed to be brought to the forefront of discussion in contemporary feminism and art. The exhibit was on display until Sep. 29.
During a chance run-in with Rossitza at the Night Gallery, she discussed what exactly the Third Wave movement meant in shaping the role of women artists and modern day feminists.
“The biggest difference from the previous (feminist) movements is that it’s extremely inclusive and it allows women to decide for themselves what feminism means,” Rossitza said.
Rossitza continued that there is a large range in how women interpret feminism, such as in how they choose to “juxtopositon” their bodies positively or negatively.
“You have women who are absolutely willing to put on lipstick and high heels and that is a feminist movement compared to women who are all natural (with) no makeup, as well as (their) sexual preference or minority inclusion,” she said.
Peering around the exhibit, the space displayed a rich and colorful range of works, some blatant in their feminist statements about traditional female roles, while other pieces were so abstract, it would be difficult to discern any sort of political statement. In pointing out some of the subtleties in these works, Rossitza provided a composed and straightforward explanation.
“I very specifically asked each of the artists to contribute pieces that they were working on currently rather than work that would fit into a theme,” she said. “The point wasn’t that it was feminist, the point was to show what women were doing.”
In the end, Third Wave wasn’t a collection of paintings about feministic statements so much as it was a group of women who happen to be painters and printmakers balancing the duality of more traditional roles. One of the more fascinating aspects of the exhibit was the subtlety behind its title. If you didn’t know what Third Wave meant, would you be surprised that it is an all women’s showcase? Would that even matter? Should the gender of the artist be considered at all when viewing each individual art piece, determining the message, or judging the quality of the artist?
“It really narrows it by (specifically saying) women painters and printmakers,” Rossitza pointed out. “It doesn’t work anymore, being pigeonholed. And I did want to point that out, I wanted people to be aware of the term ‘third wave’ and to want to know what it is, to come into this not knowing, but leaving going, ‘Wow…I am part of the third wave.’”