HomeCommunity Newsace/121 Gallery Exhibit Celebrates Women’s History Month

ace/121 Gallery Exhibit Celebrates Women’s History Month

New work from artist Susan Arena titled “Apologizing For My Wild” will be on display at ace/121 Gallery from Feb. 28 to March 30 in celebration of Women’s History Month.
“My work in drawing, painting, and ceramic sculpture investigates the experience of the female,” Arena said. “Stories and characters in my paintings bring into question how the female body holds a new kind of power as seen through the modern gaze — mother, monster, adventurer, sex goddess — a multitude of signifiers, held in a single vessel.”
The show evokes the beautiful messiness of being female and is inspired by a powerful quote from poet and playwright Nikita Gill: “Some days I am more wolf than woman, and I am still learning how to stop apologizing for my wild.”
An artist’s reception will be held Saturday, March 2, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Arena’s artwork is about exploring, drawing, color, and form, influenced by the history of painting, from Giotto to Phillip Guston and Alice Neel, and also such sources as paper dolls, family photos, tattoo art and objects found at thrift stores. Each of the pieces stands on its own, but together the many faces and figures tell a larger collective story.
Arena holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a master’s from Yale School of Art. She also studied drawing and painting at the New York Studio School.
Recent awards include the Mercedes Matter Award at the New York Studio School. Recent exhibitions include “Lateral Expansion” at Formah in New York City and “We Are Here/Here We Are” at Durden and Ray in Los Angeles. She has had solo shows at Gallery 825 (L.A.), Space Gallery (Pasadena), and Indie Collective (L.A.).
Her work has been exhibited in galleries including The Art Room, the Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Fe, West Hollywood Arts Center, Tinlark Gallery, Fresh Start, DUMBO Arts Center in New York City and D’Amelio Terras, also in New York City.
Arena has been a resident at Vermont Studio Center and Castle Hill Center for the Arts and awarded the Alice Kimball English Traveling Award to study tribal paintings in a village in India and the George P. Gardner Traveling Fellowship to study Islamic calligraphy in Cairo, Egypt. She is a lifetime educator who has taught at Yale School of Art, Brandeis University, NYU, Pratt School of Art and Design, and Santa Monica College. Arena is former head of the art department at Crossroads Elementary School and is now teacher there.

First published in the February 24 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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