Visionary Women

February 24, 2020

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A celebration of women

Virtual Visionary Women Exhibit

Viewing art can be very calming and soothing. Here is a mini-tour of Columbia Art Center’s Visionary Women Theme Show featuring 68 female artists from Maryland in celebration of National Women’s History Month. Columbia Art Center’s gallery may be closed right now but art transcends any locked door. Enjoy!

Spotlight on Artists in Visionary Women

About the Work

Pamela Bar

“Bar at the Follies de Grace was created in a live model session in Havre de Grace, Maryland.  This work was inspired by the masterwork of Edouard Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergere (1882).  The young woman struck me with her melancholy desperation, leaving little doubt in my mind that she begged for rescue from her situation.” 

About the Artist


amela Wilde with painting in Columbia Art Center Gallery

Pamela is one of 68 female artists from Maryland participating in the 2020 Visionary Women exhibit. The award was generally sponsored by Howard Bank. The jurors were Barbara Lawson, arts advocate and a founding member of the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County and Sharonlee Vogel, president of the Howard County Arts Council, artist and arts advocate. 


Who is your favorite living artist today? 

Pamela adds:

 “My favorite living female artist is Rose Frantzen. She is not only a master at her craft, but her work does well beyond the aesthetic. She has a unique empathy and understanding of what it is to be a human. Rose is able to infuse her work with so much heartfelt meaning and she makes it look easy.  I could go on and on about why I admire this artist. I was first exposed to Rose at my first Portrait Society of America conference in 2016. Before this I don’t know people like her existed. I have had the privilege to watch her demo several times and it is simply amazing how she approaches a canvas. I have had the privilege of studying with her and she changed how I see myself and my place as an artist in this world.” 

Check out Pamela’s work:

About the Work


this seat is taken painting

This Seat is Taken   (© 2019 Elaine Weiner-Reed; Acrylic on canvas, 60H x 38W inches)

“Owning it. She breathes, she feels, she exists. Living life out loud and in technicolor. Unapologetic, she takes her rightful seat. She has earned it and she is savoring the moment and the freedom it brings.” 

Background and Artist Reflections:

This Seat Is Taken” is my vision of a strong, confident woman. I feel as though I have been apologetic for a lot of my life because of a combination of nature and nurture. I grew up as a shy and inhibited girl where the child-rearing philosophy was that “children should be seen and not heard” during a time when men were considered the “breadwinners in the family” and the woman’s job was to support him. Also, I didn’t and still do not like to harm or hurt anyone’s feelings, so I found myself apologizing even when another person was clearly at fault. Trying to play peace-maker often led to heartbreak of one kind or another. Breaking out of such bindings, roles, and stereotypes has taken decades. With each decade and experience came some more confidence. The truth is, we cannot change others. We only have the power to change ourselves. In any situation or set of circumstances, we each have the power to choose our attitude. Knowing that, I choose to be happy, to own my joy and not give others the power to take it away. Painting and naming This Seat is Taken took place over about an 18-month process as I was working through and dealing with negative dynamics in the workplace. This painting and several other pieces helped in my healing. Many of you may know that I often incorporate an empty chair into my paintings and juxtapose them with my figures. An empty chair can convey many emotions or evoke memories depending on a scene. In This Seat is Taken, the woman boldly and confidently sat down in the empty chair. As she did, she took possession of the scene, and the background and other figures began to blur and take on less importance – leaving the overall atmosphere energized and alive with promise. Center stage, one shoe kicked off and out of the painting, Woman is clearly comfortable in her own skin.  She makes me smile. I want to be more like her. Let’s “own it,” shall we?

Elaine Weiner-Reed Rise Up

Rise Up  (© 2019 Elaine Weiner-Reed; Sculpture/Metal Assemblage: Plaster, Mesh, Concrete, Fabric, Acrylic)

“Courage takes flight. The spirit is everything. In it are infinite possibilities, forces capable of taking us to new heights…to be more than we ever could have imagined. With spirit as compass and heart as guide, we can dance with the wind, play with the stars, and sing with angels.” 

Background and Artist Reflections:

 “Rise Up” is my interpretation of  Phoenix Rising. It is the epitome of survival and rising from the ashes…renewed. It means hope. Remember that pesky negative workplace situation I mentioned in my “This Seat Is Taken” musings? Well, that was also the timeframe in which Rise Up was created. She became the personification of survival-to-victory…a metaphor for how I wished to come out on the other side of my challenges, standing strong and becoming whole. Defying the odds, she rose, her feet still in concrete, but she is rising above and out of those trials and tribulations – triumphant, timeless. So it is with people everywhere going about life, bent, but not broken; infirm, but not powerless; scarred and challenged, but beautiful. I am in awe of their stories, their resiliency, and their resolve. Their – YOUR – bravery and courage gives me hope and inspires me to be and do more.

About the Artist 

Elaine Weiner-Reed:  Explorations of Identity


My art honors survival and the individual spirit and history of people as they coexist, survive, and interact. Focused on honoring human resiliency in those I know and admire, I am humbled by the beauty I find in others as they struggle with near-Herculean resolve to keep going and to live life to the fullest. I have gotten to know and admire a wonderful woman who greatly influenced the completion and naming of one of my 2020 sculptures. She and so many others have inspired and continue to inspire me with their resiliency and courage. 

My Philosophy 

In imperfection lies reality, beauty, and character. As a visual artist, my work examines and responds to the notion of narrative and the interplay between singularity and universality in storytelling. The more personal the story, the more universal its message. Focusing on the imperfect in a world that embraces limited or constrictive definitions of beauty, my goal is to challenge those definitions and perceptions. My hope is that I influence a change of mindset wherein beauty truly is redefined in the eye of each beholder. Unique beauty lies beneath the surface of every individual. 


I create abstract assemblages in shape, color, and line. Finding beauty in the unfinished, my work focuses on relationship dynamics and everyday or chance encounters as they impact identity. With intuition and investigative precision, I explore the energy, motivations, chemistry, and undercurrents between individuals – from the inside, out.  My creative process involves building a character in layers, mimicking the way in which identities are formed throughout a lifetime: layer by colorful or complex layer. I let the form and placement of figures and shapes imply subsurface content and emotion. Focused on transience and imperfection, some common themes that run through my work are telling the unknown or hidden stories. 

I paint mysteries for others to re-imagine.

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About the Work


Joyce Mayer First Kiss

First Kiss

First Kiss came about in a remarkable way. A friend was telling her incredible story of how she adopted a little baby… everything fell right into place in a most miraculous way. She shared a photo of the birth father kissing his little boy moments after birth, just before he gave him up to my friend to rear for life. As an artist, I am quite captivated by capturing moments that will never happen again; whether it’s a microexpression on a face, lighting on an object that defines it by the light of the moment, or a moment that may never be seen again… except that it has been “caught on canvas” or paper.

Joyce Mayer Three Little Kittens


Three Little Kittens

After three kittens had disappeared within an hour (we believe by wild bird/animals), the sadness was comforted by a photo of our granddaughter holding one of them just a week before. All three kittens are represented; two are ghost images of a paw and a tail. It was cathartic to finish it and it bears repeating from the other piece, First Kiss, that I attempt to capture moments and expressions that may never be seen again except for an artistic effort. Three Little Kittens is most assuredly that.

About the Artist

Joyce Mayer with Granddaughter

Claude Monet is my all-time favorite artist, inspiring me to dig into the depths of color and use as many as possible believing our eye is limited and the spectrum of color is not.

About the Work

New routine is now officially set in and I can think a bit more clearly. I have been thinking of the two pieces in the show… The bowl is a homage to the first wave of those who passed in the early days of the HIV epidemic and the vase is a dedication to those who have gone to the forest in Japan to end their life. 

When making the bowl, I was recalling the fear and sadness of the times… the fear and the bigotry creeping into the lexicon when speaking of this new infliction upon the people of the gay community. The similarities between the two events (COVID and the HIV epidemic) is sadly similar.

Tabrina Lee Hughes

I made the bowl with my hands as these were the two things… our hands, used to comfort the sick and dying. The volunteers who held the hands of the sick, stroked the foreheads and in the end, pulled the shroud over the faces once they passed. 

I prefer to use my hands, carving tools, rolling and kneading in stories, thoughts, chants while I create whatever vessel I am making. I believe my pieces call to the owner. I prefer a primitive aesthetic, organic and lumpy. I abhor a clean line… I tell my students, “If you ever see a straight line in nature, run away from it…it’s man-made and nothing good can come from it.”️ I prefer the imperfections in life.

About the Artist

My favorite painting is by the Flemish painter Quentin Matsys, “The Ugly Duchess.” I find her glorious, head held up towards the sun, a kind expression upon her face, the tiniest of flowers held delicately in her fingers. She is pure inspiration for me. I have sat in the National Gallery in London many times watching as people either pass her or stand and giggle at her “physical misfortunes”… those who stop to study and admire her…those are the people I create my pieces for.

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