“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.”