Women Amongst Themselves is an exhibition that unites artists who are in their seventies, sixties, fifties, forties, thirties and twenties. Most of the works were submitted to the spring exhibition; and the artists were not aware of the theme of this exhibition as a whole. Therefore, the self-evident is assembled here: the energy, passion, wisdom, experience, freshness as well as the wear and tear of being a woman. All in a shared space.
Britta Benno, Grisli Soppe-Kahari and Kadi-Maarja Võsu’s works, which are emotionally charged and sensitive, and sometimes powerfully self-validating, comprise “the canalisation of disquiet”* into despair, “the emptying of oneself into a painting” and the ridicule of role-based expectations. Hanna Piksarv presents handiwork that is subordinated to the rhythm of a repetitive activity, which balances aspiration and action, and substantively approaches the worlds of Erika Tammpere or Maara Vint, where the nascent figurativeness and stories rely on survival, hope and an era of belief. Anne Parmasto and Elina Saat also disregard time and meanings – each in her own way. The light and youthful choice of materials of one does not annul the old values of beauty and decorativeness; the laconic and rational approach of the other alludes to music that reveals something that is hidden behind the seemingly unbridled freedom of the world of sound. It is only Liina Siib’s seven-minute video that synchronises the reality of the external world and her perspective, which comes ever closer and almost hits one in the face. It is recorded by a camera that “captures something that we usually do not want to see”. **
Although the exhibition is broad when it comes to the age scale, it has little to do with time. The wheels of time that build and grind contexts remain blunted and also does not provide any help for the brittle common space. However, the compiler of this exhibition, who has left them alone, each to fend for herself has done so. The only justification being the knowledge that these women are strong and the scant will suffice. Perhaps along with a few flowers.
*Indrek Grigor’s expression about Hanna Piksarv’s installation in an article called “Installatsiooni iseloomustab endiselt töö” in the 14 November 2014 issue of Sirp.
**Liina Siib. Sotsiaalne ruum – ebasotsiaalne aeg. Presentation at symposium called The Human Condition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Up2O2X5Rc_o
Erika Tammpere (b. 1946) has created rugs throughout her long life and at various times. Last year, at Art Senses 2015, an international art competition and exhibition aimed at raising awareness towards blind and partially sighted artists in Milan, she received a gold medal for her installation The Circle of Life. One part of this installation is on view at the Art Hall Gallery. In the cover letter for her work, the artist says: “Just like everything in nature lives, grows and develops, so too flowers sprout and grow bringing joy to the world. However, in time they wilt and disappear, providing room and opportunities for new successors”.
Anne Parmasto (b. 1952) is a painter and Associate Professor of Painting at the University of Tartu, whose solo exhibition took place at the Art Hall Gallery last year and surprised the viewers with its non-traditional use of materials. “In my search for texture and colour, I arrived at modern renovation materials: plaster and Makroflex, sprays and canned paint on plywood, UV-resistant varnish, etc. Communicating with them became an adrenaline-producing balancing act on a knife’s edge, a search for balance between reality and game”.
Maara Vint (b. 1955) studied English philology; she grew up in a family of artists and is a fully formed self-doer, whose fairytale-like worlds are based on the luminous interpretations of the Christian world, which have become an infinite source of inspiration for her pictorial and written stories.
Liina Siib (b. 1963) is an artist, whose nature and persistence impels her to constantly hone her social nerve. A graphic artist and photographer, and professor in the Department of Graphic Art at the Estonian Academy of Arts, she is a film and photo fan, who deals “with the visual representation of the social condition”, because “it is my right as an artist to be an amateur sociologist and anthropologist”. See liinasiib.com
Elina Saat (b. 1976), who has a MS in engineering, and is studying at the Open Academy of the Estonian Academy of Arts, characterises her works in this exhibition as follows: “I like clear images and lines… just like reading starts from learning the alphabet, the start of this journey is the musical scale and C-major. The pictures depict a piano – an octave from C to C; its triads in major and minor. The ABC of piano playing”.
Britta Benno (b. 1984) has an MA in graphic art and is a sensitive young artist and mother, who says the following about her black-and-white curled up self-portrait: it “…symbolises the darkest place where, in the end, I sometimes don’t know who I am”; thereby addressing a feeling and experience that is familiar to so many. See brittabenno.com
Hanna Piksarv (b. 1989) graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts with an MA in sculpture and installation. She says the following about her works, which are born of her experiences in Austria: “Handiwork has a totally underrated meditative function, which is now spoken about freely, but which in its day may have been essential for coping and remaining sane in a male-dominated village society in the mountains. I have been especially haunted by the tradition of positive embroidered phrases, which have provided the example for headwear projects, being hung on the walls. At first glance this seems so hollow – a loving heart makes the best soup for a man and other homemaking topics — but they are also an excellent illustration of one’s attempt and pressure to cope with one’s own life”. See hannapiksarv.blogspot.com
Grisli Soppe-Kahar (b. 1990) will soon be defending her thesis for an MA in fine arts at the Estonian Academy of Arts. Her spontaneous, uneven but intensively eloquent, paintings express sensory states and emotions, which she describes as follows when trying to formulate them: “…there is a certain romanticising in all of them, which sometimes is not limited to them, but actually exists – at least for me”. See grislisoppe.weebly.com
Kadi-Maarja Võsu (b. 1992) has been a fine arts student at the Estonian Academy of Arts since 2013. She has an actively diverse and wide-ranging field of activity and creative ability. She is self-confident with a broad scope. She introduces her exhibition work as a question: “Why does a young woman have to get psychological counselling and assessments when she has made a calculated decision not become a biological mother? … Why do we shame those who say, I don’t want to be a rabbit.” See sametkoer.ee