“Abit of danger” — that’s what the name of the art collective Femme Fatales is meant to convey. So say Rebecca Klementovich and Kristen Pobatschnig, two North Country abstract artists who have exhibited their paintings far from the safety of white-walled galleries.
“We did an outdoor show at the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation in a blizzard where it was 7 degrees out,” says Klementovich. “We used sleds to bring the paintings to different parts of the trails. We also did a photo shoot on the top of Mount Washington in 30 mph winds, holding 4-foot paintings, in heels.”
Yes, in heels. Just as the backward-dancing-in-heels Ginger Rogers drew attention to the powers of women, so are the Femme Fatales.
“Today, there is still a gender disparity in the arts in terms of sales and gallery representation,” says Pobatschnig. “At this point, the public is aware of the disparity; now it appears more like a habit of how and why we, as a society, buy more art by men.” Their hope is that their attention-grabbing outdoor exhibits and other efforts will change that dynamic.
They also hope to inject some contemporary pizzazz into the art scene in the North Country. Pobatschnig says, “New Hampshire is ready to move into more modern versions of this amazing and expansive landscape. We have enjoyed a state that excels in representational work. What could we do as an art collective in representing a fresher way of seeing our mountains?”
Both artists use bright, bold colors to create that freshness. Pobatschnig aims to “uplift the viewer” with color to counter the “wintry palette” that the state lives with for much of the year. Klementovich uses color that’s very different from what is actually there to bring “a new language to represent the local landscape.”
Together, they look forward to seeing results from their now-four-year-long effort to, Klementovich says, “open up more space for other women to go beyond where we are going.”
It was 40 years ago that a tiny country bar in a seedy part of Manhattan compromised its principles, started booking rock acts and altered the course of music history. What is less known is the gallery that was next to it, 313 CBGB’s. This was a space, a bit rancid, but it has white walls.
I showed there with my best friend, Shaza in the 1900’s. I had paintings, she had yarn wall hanging. The colors of our work was the only unifying force. The show was called, Punk Rock Knitting in Geometry class because Shaza had a Punk rock knittingness about her. I had a large abstract painting series called, Teenagers falling in love in Geometry class with Tangents.
There were two things that were memorable of the art opening. One, Shaza and I had to walk my five foot paintings from my apartment to the gallery, which was past a line of heroin junkies who were parked outside near the gallery for a meth clinic. The other was that my brother, Joe Klementovich, New York Times photographer, showed up from New Hampshire, as a surprise (8 hour drive).
The Surprise was the openness of allowing us to show at the gallery. We had an absolutely crazy abstract concept full of color. CBGB is a place that has been forever implanted for innovation and support for new ideas. It will always be remember as this.