January 21 — May 21, 2023
“So let us do our own work, and in our own way.”
— Susan B. Anthony to Lucy Stone, October 27, 1857
This exhibition brings together 41 female artists of the 20th century who had connections to the South — including Emma Amos, Beverly Buchanan, Elaine de Kooning, Zelda Fitzgerald, Gwendolyn Knight, and Columbia’s own Laura Spong — while shining a spotlight on several other regional artists. Having faced resistance from the art world for decades, many of these artists are just beginning to come out of the shadows of art history. Women artists in the South particularly encountered resistance in their quest to gain parity, especially when their mode of expression was modern in style or subject. Furthermore, contemporary female artists of color faced what Loïs Mailou Jones, also featured in the exhibition, termed the “double handicap” of racism and sexism.
Like their sisters to the north, these Southern women often worked alongside, but in the shadows of, their more celebrated male counterparts. Comprised of artwork from the 1930s to the 1990s, Our Own Work, Our Own Way champions a roster of artists whose aesthetic achievements transcended convention and invigorated the South’s modern milieu.
Alma Thomas (1891–1978), Blue Ground Stripe (detail), 1971, acrylic and watercolor on paper, 22 1/2 x 29 7/8 inches. The Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina.
18 / January
Evening for EducatorsEducators from across the state are invited to an evening of art, wine, and nibbles as they enjoy a private preview of upcoming exhibition Our Own Work, Our Own Way: Ascendant Women Artists in the Johnson Collection. Hear from Sarah Tignor, chief operating officer of the Johnson Collection, about themes in the exhibition, explore the galleries, learn about new tours, and try out lesson plan materials focusing on Our Own Work, Our Own Way. Attendees receive documentation for professional development renewal credit.
21 / January
Opening Day Members Drop-InTo celebrate the exhibition opening of Our Own Work, Our Own Way: Ascendant Women Artists in the Johnson Collection, members are invited to bring a friend and drop by the museum for an afternoon of refreshment and artistic enlightenment. Enjoy complimentary coffee, pastries, and other treats from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. At 2:30 p.m., get insights about this new exhibition from the folks at the Johnson Collection at an opening day talk. Free. Members only; members are encouraged to bring a friend along.
21 / January
Opening Day Talk: Our Own Work, Our Own WayOn opening day of Our Own Work, Our Own Way: Ascendant Women Artists in the Johnson Collection, don’t miss this special opportunity to hear directly from the folks at the Johnson Collection. Carter Johnson — co-curator of the exhibition and daughter-in-law of the collection’s owners — discusses the featured artists and exactly how this exhibition came to be. Following the talk, Johnson and Sarah Tignor, chief operating officer of the Johnson Collection, answer questions from the audience.