By Allison Brown
They say that everything gets better with age, and longtime Mesa artist Susan Paige can attest to that.
Through OneOhOne gallery in Mesa, she organized the “Contemporary Wise Women Artists” show to highlight women who have been influential in the art world but have gone largely unnoticed.
It’s on display from Saturday, January 8, to Saturday, January 29.
“I just felt like these women are kind of unrecognized,” Paige says.
“We’re not in the famous galleries. We’re not in a really successful Scottsdale gallery, but we still sell our art and we’re successful. I just thought of the idea of wise women and all of the knowledge we have from all of our life experiences kind of giving a different perspective in art. Everyone in the show is over 65. Our oldest one is 79 and she does metal work.”
In the show are seven women — Paige, Elvie Becker, Joni Anderson, Linda Jones, Kathy McClure, Loralee Stickel-Harris and Diane Black. The exhibition will feature mediums like metal work, mixed medium abstract pieces, oil art, watercolors, acrylics and photography.
Each of the artist brings her own subject matter, too, from abstract to super realism, and she specifically chose them to have a variety of work.
“Everybody’s just a little different. The reason I call it ‘Contemporary Wise Women’ is you can just see that they’re very accomplished and can incorporate their personality into their art,” Paige says.
“So, the more experience, the more time you spend on your art, the longer you’re with it, it brings you more wisdom in how you execute the art, so the viewer understands what you’re saying.”
If art imitates life, these women have plenty of experiences and knowledge to express in their work. Paige says the artists have been working on their craft for so long, they have found their niche and honed their skills in that area. She adds that the wisdom that comes with aging shines through their art.
“Women with age bring experience, knowledge and, hopefully, good judgment,” Black says.
These artists have been taking art classes for 10 or 20 years or have a degree in art.
A 40-year artist, Paige earned an art degree and has managed several galleries in Phoenix and Chicago. It could be said that she’s had a successful art career, but she calls herself and the other women “silent artists.” Their pieces may not be in large galleries, but they are in homes and businesses.
Stickel-Harris is a 79-year-old sculptor who does metal work, something she only started 10 years ago after taking a class at the Mesa Arts Center.
Paige adds that it’s “pretty amazing” that Stickel-Harris took on this new hobby in her late 60s and is still welding and making art pieces. Stickel-Harris says her art reflects her life.
“My metal art has no boundaries, which, in my late 70s, is how I approach life,” Stickel-Harris says. “I weld and bend metal, which depicts to the viewer both flexibility and strength which comes with many life experiences.”
Paige says she chose the women after following their careers. With Stickel-Harris, there is a mutual respect for their work. Paige says each has proven to be accomplished women and artists, which is why she thinks they deserve a show to themselves.
So, she made it happen. Paige says she rents out the OneOhOne gallery for shows that she wants to put together. Then, she single-handedly organizes the exhibit from start to finish.
“I rent it periodically and curate exhibits,” she says. “So, this is the one that I’m curating for January. I come up with my own theme and then I find the artists, put the show together, advertise and hang the show.”
What: “Contemporary Wise Women Artists””
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from January 8 to January 29
Where: OneOhOne Gallery/Paige Artists Studio, 101 W. Main Street, Mesa