Jane Lund helps curate A.P.E. Gallery’s first-ever exhibit of self-portraits by 50 Massachusetts women artists.
The idea for a all-women art show of self-portrait has been years in the making, says Jane Lund, one third of the curatorial trio in charge of Self-Portraits by 50 Women at A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton. It began, as many things female-centric do, with a group of strong women getting together. “We were part of a group of five women—Betsy Stone, Sally Curcio, Ellen Wineberg, Rachel Folsom and myself,” Lund recalls. “It was an art group discussing various things about art.” The group ended up having a show together at Deerfield Academy many years ago.
That show got Lund and Folsom talking about a Valley-centric women self-portrait show. “We talked about it, brainstormed it,” Lund says, noting Stone joined in the discussion and organization. “There are so many artists around here. The place is crawling with them.”
The self-portrait focus was deliberate, Lund says. “They always seem to be a potent subject matter. They’re telling pictures of how an artist thinks about themselves,” she says, noting that in earlier times women artists often used self-portraits as a marketing tool. “They would hang them in their studio and people could see they really can do a likeness. I think it’s a powerful image.”
Nannette Vonnegut, one of the 50 participating artists, loved the idea of the show. “Since Jane Lund and the other curators involved were artists I admired and whose integrity I trusted, I didn’t think twice about participating in the show,” she says. “APE Gallery is an excellent venue as well. In every way I was honored to be included.”
Having an all-women show in the Valley is important for the message it sends to the art world at large, Vonnegut says. “Women are still under-represented in the art world, so it’s always a good thing to give space and time for exhibits like this,” she says. It’s very moving to see women as they relate to themselves, not in relationship to others, although I have a man’s tattoo on my chest … in these portraits, we are telling a story and given much needed time and space to do so.”