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HerStory - March 2010

The Art League Presents HerStory
March 10-April 5, 2010
Juried by Barbara Rachko

by CM Dupre, "Alice is Decorated."

Carol Bruce Pastel Award: Kelly St. Claire
Jane McElvany Coonce Award: CM Dupre

Honorable Mention: Olene Albertson, Diane Blackwell, Wendy Donahoe,
Maria Luisa Goodspeed, Donalyn Lefever, Moira McQuillen, Joan Plato, Barry Ripin, John Stier, Sherry Trachtman, Suzanne Yurdin.

384 Entered, 139 Accepted

Juror’s Dialogue
with Erica Fortwengler


In feminist discourse, the term “herstory” refers to history ("his story") written from a feminist perspective, emphasizing the role of women, or told from a woman's point of view.


Visually, the goal of the artwork in The Art League exhibit HerStory is to honor and explore personal stories and experiences about women throughout history, as well as in the present and in the future. Artists were encouraged to enter works that either express a personal story or convey a personal memory or emotion about women or what it means to be female.  They could also choose to visually covey the story of a historically famous woman or event of importance to women.  Artists were encouraged to think creatively and symbolically while exploring this theme.


Barbara Rachko, Art League alum and juror for HerStory, was pleasantly surprised by the work submitted.  “When I think of The Art League and the Torpedo Factory, I generally think of fairly traditional work.  It was a nice surprise to find the submissions so varied and for the artwork to go beyond conventional.” 


“I want to be surprised,” stated Rachko.  “I’m always looking for something I haven’t seen before… Jurying is intuitive. A piece either grabs you or it doesn’t.”  Rachko has a sense of humor, quirky taste, and many of the works in this show reflect that.  She realized after jurying that she selected many works with colors within her own color palette – dark, dramatic, moody. “Unselected lacked visual impact, been too prosaic, or didn’t fit in with the theme.”


“The theme HerStory is so broad, yet so are the roles and experiences of women.  The artwork in this exhibit represents the diverse aspects of women’s lives and their roles in their different spheres.”


Rachko awarded the Carol Bruce Pastel Award to Kelly St. Claire for “Red Bow.”  “It reminds me of a Carol Bruce piece with the hatch work and the handling of the pastel.”  For the Jane Coonce Award, Rachko selected “Alice is Decorated” by CM Dupre.  “This is a strong, well-done, unusual piece.”  Rachko chose several Honorable Mentions.  “This piece reminds me of a little Rembrandt, it’s just a little gem,” Rachko remarked of Moira McQuillen’s “Aunt Lucy.”  “Carolyn’s Curlers” was selected for it’s unique vantage point and fun subject matter, as was “In Both Camps” by Diane Blackwell. 


Rachko became immersed in classes at The Art League School in the late eighties and continued through the early nineties.  With an aptitude for drawing, she took classes during the day to balance the tediousness of working the night shift at the Pentagon as a Naval officer.  She studied intensively with Lisa Semerad and Diane Tesler, both her most influential instructors and mentors, to set the foundation for her art career. She resigned from active duty in 1988 (retiring from the Naval Reserve as a commander in 2003), deciding to devote herself to becoming a full-time artist. Rachko first exhibited her work and won recognition at The Art League Gallery.


She currently divides her time between residences in New York and Alexandria, Virginia and enjoys a busy career as a professional artist. She is represented by six galleries throughout the United States, exhibits nationally and internationally, and continues to win accolades for her unique work. Rachko’s work will be on display February 27 – March 28 in the Target Gallery in an exhibit titled: Past Forward: An Exhibition of Four Former Torpedo Factory Artists - Barbara Rachko, Joyce Zipperer, Anne Laddon, and Kathleen Dustin. Visit www.barbararachko.com to learn more about her and her work.



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