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Eastern Art Gallery presents feminist exhibition ‘HEROINE-ITY’

Published on February 03, 2021

Eastern Art Gallery presents feminist exhibition ‘HEROINE-ITY’

Artist Laura Elkin's piece "Self as Greta at Seaside"
Laura Elkin's "Self as Greta at Seaside," 2020, oil on canvas 

The work of several audacious female artists is on display at Eastern Connecticut State University’s Art Gallery until March 5 in an exhibition titled “HEROINE-ITY.” The gallery’s first showcase of 2021 brings together a group of forerunning feminist artists who work in role-play, costume, impersonation and self-transformation to confront culturally entrenched forms of misogyny. Students, faculty and staff are invited to the exhibition’s opening reception on Feb. 17 from 4–7 p.m.

“HEROINE-ITY” features Laura Elkins, Karen Finley, Katya Grokhovsky, Cindy Sherman, Martha Wilson, Suzanne Lacy and Andrea Bowers.

Three virtual events related to the exhibition will be presented on Zoom. Finley will present “The Heroine of Performance,” on Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. during University Hour. Wilson will present “Embodiment” on Feb. 25 at 4:30 p.m. Elkins will present “Draped in Another Woman’s Skin” on March 1 at 4 p.m.

Speaking to the theme of the exhibition, Gallery Director Yulia Tikhonova says, “(The artists) have in common a performative anchor… Their bodies are the center of their work — a personal act of resistance to a repressive patriarchal society. ‘HEROINE-ITY’ proclaims a feminine counterpart to the conventional male ‘hero’ who seeks victory and power for himself.”

Working as her own model for more than 30 years, acclaimed contemporary artist Cindy Sherman uses photography to capture herself in a range of guises and personas varying from amusing to disturbing. She assumes the roles of photographer, model, makeup artist, hairdresser, stylist and wardrobe mistress.

Martha Wilson is a pioneering artist who, over the past four decades, has created unique photographic and video works that explore her female subjectivity through role-playing, costume transformations and “invasions” of other people’s personae.

In “THIS EARTH: What She Is to Me,” artists Andrea Bowers and Suzanne Lacy present a new collaboration honoring the work of eco-feminist poet Susan Griffin in a collective reading from the 1978 book “Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her.”

Laura Elkins has developed the “self-portrait-as” into a distinct genre of figure painting that blends her own reflection with that of her subjects. “The specific project determines the medium I use,” explains Elkins, who uses paint on canvas for her series of self-portraits-as First Ladies and cardboard for her portraits in “America Povera” and “The Pussy Paintings” — “to reflect the perceived worthlessness of women in our culture.”

Working in a variety of mediums such as installation, video, performance, public art, music and more, Karen Finley explains, “For my practice and research, I consider the premise of the artist as historical recorder. I use humor, direct action and also emotion to compel and challenge society.”

Ukraine-born and Australia-raised Katya Grokhovsky is a New York City-based artist, curator and founding director of The Immigrant Artist Biennial. “I am interested in undermining the dominators consistently in my work and life, from rejecting societal norms of existence, to moving overseas on my own for my art, to practicing as an interdisciplinary, hard-to-define artist, to creating curatorial spaces for marginalized voices,” said Grokhovsky. “I tend to work best in opposition to what is considered the standard form of operation.”

The Art Gallery is located in the Fine Arts Instructional Center. Admission is free and open to the public during gallery hours Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. For more information, contact the gallery at (860) 465-4625, Tikhonova at or visit the “HEROINE-ITY” website at

Written by Michael Rouleau

Categories: Arts, Art Gallery