The power has certainly shifted, or at the very least balanced out, between the sexes. Countries led by women have seen a lower rate of COVID-19 deaths, Fortune 500 companies see an all time record high of women CEOs, and Kamala Harris becomes the first female Vice President-elect of the United States. To honor this rise in power comes a timely new series by Hoboken based award-winning artist, Brittany Vogel.
“Powerful Women”, on display now through November 30 at Pilsener Haus, portrays women in history (both past and present) that have paved the way for women of today. Through her use of sharp lines, Vogel depicts Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Harriet Tubman, Nancy Pelosi, Susan B. Anthony, and the frontline worker in an artistic narrative that captures the female spirit and the story they each tell.
What inspired the creative outlet?
I’ve always felt inspired while being around art. Growing up, all of our family vacations revolved around going to museums or castles, and my parents were active in supporting museums in Detroit. After moving to Hoboken, I became a member of the Junior Associates of the Museum of Modern Art for 12 years. It was a fantastic way to learn from curators, collectors, and renowned artists. Finally, in 2008 I became serious about becoming an artist myself and began at The Art Students League of New York [an independent art school in Manhattan]. I learned from from incredible artists like Mariano Del Rosario, Ken McIndoe, and Robert Cenedella.
Describe how the series “Powerful Women” came about.
The series ‘Powerful Women’ began in 2019. I was thinking about the upcoming 100 year anniversary of the 19th amendment and wanted to honor the suffragists. After finishing ‘Susan B. Anthony’ and the ‘Suffragists Marching’ mural on view at the Columbus Circle Subway Station, I realized there was a big gap in my knowledge of history and especially women’s place in it.
The viewer is drawn in by your intentional framework of each subjects outline to the media clippings in the background. It feels like this is beyond a form of artistic expression but also a creative history lesson as well.
The series is a way for me to amplify the stories, lessons, and achievements of amazing women. By placing a spotlight on extraordinary women, there will be an example by which others can follow. In ‘Powerful Women,’ each figure is placed in the forefront as an expressive line drawing with the background providing the context of her history. Each history is shown as a patchwork collage, often displaying issues our hero had to overcome or major accomplishments in her life. I encourage viewers to take a close look at the collage as there are a lot of interesting details included.
Why did you choose those specific women to profile?
‘Powerful Women’ is meant to honor the amazing women featured, and inspire the next generation.
What single quote, from any of the women featured in your current exhibit, resonates with you the most?
A quote that resonates with me from this series is from Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made…it shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”
“Powerful Women” is a COVID-friendly exhibit made possible by Main Street Pops and Pilsener Haus. Meet the artist in person on Wednesday, November 18 from 6 – 8 PM where Vogel will give a live drawing demonstration.
Pilsener Haus is located at 1422 Grand Street in Hoboken.