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BAD GIRLS & Outcasts

Apr 18, 2017

Patricia Krebs, Calypso (detail), acrylic on canvas.

Sandra Mastroianni knows scores of artists and, lucky for us, they create unique pieces for her diverse exhibitions. She embraces themes that make us smile simply by reading their titles and eager to see the artists’ interpretations: Tiny Treasures, Beastly Beings, Birdly Delights, ¡Loteria!, Communing with the Ancestors, Sticks and Stones, and Over the Moon and Under the Stars.

Opening at Cactus Gallery in Frogtown on April 22 is “BAD GIRLS & Outcasts.”

We’ll let Sandra explain the evolution and concept behind the show:

Exploring the theme of bad girls occurred to featured artist Ulla Anobile… when she saw on one of her Finnish Facebook pages mention a novel she had read when she was young by her then favorite Finnish author Aino Kallas.

Sudenmorsian (The Wolf’s Bride) was written by the Finnish-Estonian novelist in 1928 as part of a trilogy, in which each book dealt with the theme she called ‘the slaying Eros’, the forbidden love that kills.

Ulla sees The Wolf’s Bride addressing the schism in the contemporary psyche between its cultured, ‘tamed’, socialized side and the wild, instinctual, sexual one. This schism, any way you look at it, cannot really be cleanly resolved.

The novel’s heroine hears a wolf calling her, asking her to join him, free and wild, in the bogs. Ultimately she cannot resist the wolf’s call. At night, she leaves her house, pulls on a wolf’s skin and joins him and others to return in the morning to her ordinary life as the wife of a farmer.

 

Ulla Anobile, Wolf’s Bride: The Seduction.

 

“BAD GIRLS & Outcasts” features the women of fairytales, myths, and legends who don’t necessarily get Prince Charming. Or if they do, he leaves her for the goody-two-shoes Princess. These women may often go unrecognized (or are simply hidden away), because they don’t fit the archetypal feminine canon of princesses and heroines, or the safe progression from maiden to mother to crone.

 

Ulla Anobile, Sacred Prostitute.

 

Anita Inverarity, Sekhmet, ink drawing. In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet is a warrior goddess, fire goddess & healing goddess; depicted as a lioness.

 

Anna Chung, Kumiho, acrylic on panel. “The Kumiho is a mythical creature from Korean folklore that was a nine-tailed fox. It was said that after a fox lived a thousand years it would become a Kumiho and it could transform into other forms, most commonly a woman. When in the form of a woman, it had the reputation of luring men to devour their livers or hearts. They also have been known to have another more benevolent side to them, being described as an auspicious spirit.”

 

Malinalxochitl Zapata, Xtabay, Xkeban, acrylic on wood. “Xtabay literally means ‘female ensnarer’ in Mayan. The legend of Xtabay (the female demon) tells of two women who lived in a village in the Yucatán Peninsula. One was named Xkeban (which means sinner, bad woman, or ‘one who practices illicit love’); the other was Utz-Colel (a good, decent woman).”

 

 

Our women may live, even thrive, on the dark side of the Moon, at the bottom of the ocean, in the depths of the primeval forest, in the hidden, rebellious, shadowy realms of a woman’s soul, or in the rejected, often devalued parts of a man’s psyche.

Our women are strong, wild, opinionated, seductive, bawdy, despondent, spurned, full of tears or fury. They can be crafty, vengeful, devious, evil. They go on their solitary way and do not aim to please anyone or ask for anyone’s approval.

They hope, however, to be recognized as who they are and to be seen.

 

Carolina Seth, Yuki-Onna, acrylic on panel.

 

“Yuki-onna (snow woman) is a spirit or yokai in Japanese folklore. Legend has it that she appears in snowfall and glides without feet over the snow like a ghost. She feeds on human essence, and her killing method of choice is to blow on her victims to freeze them to death and then suck out their souls through their mouths.”

 

Kelly Thompson, Kuchisake-onna (Slit-mouthed Woman), mixed media. “Kuchisake-onna is a figure appearing in Japanese ghost stories.

 

 

BAD GIRLS & Outcasts
Opening reception, Saturday, April 22nd, 6-9 p.m.
Exhibit through May 27
Regular gallery hours: Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Private appointments available; call 1.323.801.8669
Cactus Gallery, 3001 N. Coolidge Ave., Frogtown 90039
For more info, visit CactusGalleryLA.com
Or the opening reception Facebook page

 

Malathip Kriheli, The Nefarious Guardian, paint on wood.

 

Ulla Anobile, Old Wife & Her Familiar.

 

“Anne Bonny (below) was an Irish pirate operating in the Caribbean, and one of several noted women in piracy. Bonny took part in combat alongside the men, and the accounts of her exploits present her as competent, effective in combat, and respected by her shipmates.

“The last known story of Bonny is probably her best. It seems she and another female pirate Mary Read, successfully fought off attackers while the rest of the crew was blitzed, too drunk to fight. Bonny’s last words to the captain, who happened to be her husband, were: “Had you fought like a man, you need not have been hang’d like a dog.”
—Cactus Gallery (read more about Anne Bonny & Christine Benjamin’s creation here.)

 

Christine Benjamin, Pirate Anne Bonny, mixed media with needle felted wool.

 

Catherine Bursill Moore, Sentence First, Verdict Afterwards, oil on cradled wood panel.

 

Joe Vollan, Kostyanaya Noga (Baba Yaga), acrylic wood on panel.

 

“Kostyanaya Noga (meaning “leg bone”) or Baba Yaga as she is more commonly known, always lives in the hut in the deepest part of the forest, and the hut where she dwells is not an ordinary one. It has so called chicken-feet on which it stands. Her home is often surrounded with skulls with their shining eye holes a necessary attribute of hut’s exterior.

“In Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga is a supernatural being (or one of a trio of sisters of the same name) who appears as a deformed and/or ferocious-looking old woman. She is depicted as skinny, with iron teeth, and a nose so long that it touchs the ceiling when she sleeps. Baba Yaga flies around in a mortar, wields a pestle, and dwells deep in the forest in a hut usually described as standing on magical chicken legs. Legend says her hut is surrounded by a fence made of human bones.

“The characterization of Baba Yaga is where much of the uncertainty surrounding her comes from. She varies between acting as a benefactor and a villain, either helping the hero of the Slavic myth or hindering him or her. Though it appears she never goes after anyone unprovoked, she does appear to follow little or few morals.”

 

Joe Vollan, Kostyanaya Noga (detail).

 

Participating artists:
Jaclyn Alderete, Joe Alvarez, Ulla Anobile, Christine Benjamin, Jorge Bernal, Denise Bledsoe, Andrea Bogdan, Lioba Bruckner, Lacey Bryant, Catherine Bursill Moore, Lauren Hana Chai, Nancy Cintron, Anna Chung, Sheri DeBow, Dolldrums, Ashley Fisher, Eden Folwell, Rosie Garcia, Leonard Greco, Liz Huston, Anita Inverarity, Rasa Jadzeviciene, Brooke Kent, Patricia Krebs, Mavis Leahy, Heather Lowe, Linda Lyons, Candace McKay, Malathip, Tammy Mae Moon, Janet Olenik, Jen Raven, Joshua Roman, Carolina Seth, Kelly Thompson, Ingrid Tusell, Kelly Vetter, Joe Vollan, Gabriela Zapata, Julie Zarate and more.

 

Eden Falwell, La Llorona (The Weeping Woman), acrylic on canvas.

 

Ulla Anobile, Vammatar (Sister of Hurt), paper mache, driftwood, acrylics, yarn.

 

Following text courtesy of Ulla Anobile:

Vammatar (Sister of Hurt). She was credited for creating mental and emotional maladies according to Finnish folklore. Her influence could be countered by reciting a spell; my rough translation of a newer spell follows. The older spells would include listing her origins; here the origins part is missing.

Vammatar, difficult woman,
Maiden cold by nature,
Who came here from the North,
Settled here from the land of the dead.
You have brought us a shapeless pain,
An illness with no fleshly form,
And put it into our heads,
To spoil even the best of minds.
You have dealt us the strangest symptoms,
And given us the chilliest hearts,
You have thrown delusions to the weakest,
And given dark minds to those already evil.
Vammatar, difficult wife,
You, hostess with the darkest shape,
You, sneaky keeper of hurts,
You, caretaker of delusions,
Let go of your grasp of me,
I have already endured my share,
In my troubles I cry bloody tears,
I am now sweating in death’s grasp.
Be merciful to this human,
Chase away this grudge of death,
Free little me from my misery,
And take back what belongs to you.

 

Ulla Anobile, Metsänneito (Forest Maiden). “According to Finnish folklore, Forest Maiden would appear to a man walking alone in a forest. Looking like a lovely young maiden, she would entice him to walk deeper and deeper into the woods, often getting lost. But if he tried to approach her, he would find to his horror that her backside was nothing but a hollow, half dead tree trunk. Once discovered, Forest Maiden would be frightened and quickly disappear.”

 

Ulla Anobile, Hectate of the Dark Moon.

 

 

Ulla Anobile, Baba Yaga the Terrible.

 

Baba Yaga explained by Ulla:

“This mask presents Baba Yaga in the ‘terrible’, witchy, devouring aspect of Mother Nature; the way she is mostly depicted in Russian and other Slavic folktales.

“My fondness for her stems from the interpretation of her symbols by my favorite Jungian scholar, the late Marie-Louise von Franz, who discusses the tale ‘The Beautiful Wasilissa’ in her book ‘The Feminine in Fairytales’. Baba Yaga appears in this tale.

“She sees Baba Yaga’s vehicle, the mortar and the pestle, as life’s ‘crushing’ instrument, which at some point catches up with us all; this realization not for the squeamish. Baba Yaga also speaks of ‘my day’ and ‘my night’, indicating she is a powerful goddess figure who controls the forces of the universe.

“When speaking of Baba Yaga’s ‘helpers’, the pairs of bodiless hands, and of Wasilissa’s restraint in asking certain questions, von Franz engages in a profound meditation on the force of evil, stating that it’s sometimes best not to face it directly, for fear of contamination. I made Baba Yaga’s fence, with the skulls atop the posts, circular, hinting at the wheels of life and fate, which grind on, whether we accept this or not.”

Often, Ulla’s pieces begin with driftwood…

 

 

… and evolves into something magical…

 

Ulla Anobile, Northern Witch.

 

Ulla Anobile, Northern Witch (detail).

 

Ulla Anobile, Northern Witch (detail).

 

BAD GIRLS & Outcasts
Opening reception, Saturday, April 22nd, 6-9 p.m.
Exhibit through May 27
Regular gallery hours: Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Private appointments available; call 1.323.801.8669
Cactus Gallery, 3001 N. Coolidge Ave., Frogtown 90039
For more info, visit CactusGalleryLA.com
Or the opening reception Facebook page

 

Jaclyn Alderete, Wile of Eris. Eris is the Greek goddess of discord and strife.

 

 

 




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