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Women’s Work Lia Cook Teresa Cunniff Jessica Drenk Devorah Jacoby Lisa Kokin Nancy Legge Emily Payne Inez Storer



Women’s Work Lia Cook . Teresa Cunniff . Jessica Drenk . Devorah Jacoby Lisa Kokin . Nancy Legge . Emily Payne . Inez Storer

23 Sunnyside Ave. l Mill Valley, CA 94941 l 415.384.8288 l


Women’s Work Exhibition Dates: March 4 - March 30, 2014 Reception for the artists: Friday, March 7, 6 to 8pm Front Cover: Lisa Kokin, Cowboy, #8, Joe, (detail), 2013, vintage textiles, thread, 51.5 x 27” Back Cover: Lia Cook, Inner Tracts, 2014, cotton, rayon, woven, 19 x 13” Photography Credits: Lia Cook: Lia Cook Teresa Cuniff: Teresa Cunniff Jessica Drenk: Jessica Drenk Devorah Jacoby: Charles Kennard Lisa Kokin: Lia Roozendaal, Jagwire Design Nancy Legge: Charles Kennard Emily Payne: Emily Payne Inez Storer: Photography by

Direct inquiries to: Seager Gray Gallery 23 Sunnyside Ave. Mill Valley, CA 94941 415.384.8288

All Rights Reserved


Women’s Work As gallerists, we consider ourselves to be gender blind. We choose work that we feel can inform, influence or simply inspire our culture – what we feel is great art. None-the-less, we find that we are often drawn to work created by women. We conceived of this exhibition after attending a Symposium on Collecting Women Artists at Art Miami sponsored by the Institute of Women in the Arts. The keynote speaker was Elizabeth Sackler, founder of the Elizabeth Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. Her talk was inspiring, as was her unabashed support of work created by women. Sackler pointed out the wide chasm between representation and auction values of women artists versus their male colleagues at the time that she began collecting. (She purchased Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party.) The gap is slow to close, but much progress has been made, with major museum exhibitions focused on women and auction values jumping to new heights, making the present an excellent time to take a serious look at collecting works created by women. Our exhibitin focuses on women artists who use media traditionally associated with women (thread, sewing, weaving), women experimenting with new media and painters whose subject matter speaks of women’s lives and concerns.



Lisa Kokin When Seager Gray exhibited in Miami for the Context Art Miami Fair, we brought what we feel are important works by artist Lisa Kokin, whose one person exhibition at the Boise Art Museum, How the West Was Sewn, challenges and engages viewers to examine both gender and gun violence under the lens of the female perspective. In her Lace Cowboy series, Kokin repurposes vintage lace and found fabrics to create cowboys and their guns that are, in her words, “frilly and ephemeral, mere shadows of their former intimidating selves. Underneath the skilled needlework and graceful designs is an element of subtle subversion. This is slyly evident in “Rustle” and “Podner”, vine and branch-shaped hanging installations she creates sewing fragments of the wild west book covers into leaf and pod shapes that cast intricate shadows on the walls. If you look closely, you can make out lurid images and shards of text, incorporated from cowboy novels from the 1930s, saying things like “would die,” “you kill,” “vengeance” and “no jail could hold him.” The sensationalized violence from the book is in jarring contrast to the aesthetically appealing horticultural imagery of this new work. (excerpted in part from the catalog essay by Paul Liberatore). Page 4

Lisa Kokin, Cowboy #8, Joe vintage textiles, thread 51.5 x 27”, 2013 Left

Lisa Kokin, Cowboy #7, La Vie en Rose vintage textiles, thread 46 x 41”, 2013 7

Lisa Kokin, Podner #1, detail below cowboy book pages, beeswax, wire, batting, thread 73.5 x 36 x 12.5”, 2013

Lisa Kokin, Podner #2 cowboy book pages, beeswax, wire, batting, thread 58 x 30 x 12.5”, 2013


Lisa Kokin, Rustle cowboy book covers, thread, wire, mull 55.5 x 35 x 13.5�, 2013 details above



Lia Cook, Doll Face Pillow woven cotton, rayon 67 x 51”, 2010 Page 9

Lia Cook, Binary Traces, Young Girl Jaquard woven cotton 68 x 48”, 2004


Lia Cook California artist Lia Cook is a pioneer of the modern fiber-art movement and one of the first to utilize a digital Jacquard loom as an art tool. Combining weaving with photography and digital technology. Cook explores the sensuality of the woven image and the emotional connections to memories of touch and cloth. With threads acting as pixels, each work captures the distinct and compelling features of a face when viewed from a distance. As the viewer comes closer, the “pixels” of the image dissolve into fields of individual threads. Works such as Binary Traces: Young Girl, the artist transcends the intrinsic aspects of photography while expanding traditional weaving. Standing in front of the work, it translates into something warmer, more alive and tactile than any photograph. In Doll Face Pillow, a childhood doll, her gleaming plastic face “resting” on a woven pillow, she expands on the transference of human qualities to the inanimate object, making it seem almost, but not quite human. Cook has been working in collaboration with neuroscientists, gauging emotional response to woven faces by mapping in the brain these responses and using the laboratory experience both with process and tools to stimulate new work in reaction to these investigations. In Inner Tracts, she uses DSI (DIffusion Spectrum Imaging) from her own brain patterns and integrates them into a portrait of herself. 11

Lia Cook, Inner Tracts woven cotton, rayon 19 x 13�, 2014


Teresa Cunniff

Teresa Cunniff explores our human regard for other species and the psychic bond we have to animals we may never come in contact with. A range of media and processes including sound, digital animation, sculpture, and installation creates a context in which the power structure between humans and other species is deconstructed and reconfigured. If our relationship to the living world is not based on a hierarchy of owner and possession, or superior and inferior, a far more complex interaction becomes available, one in which alienation is diminished and the unique vitality and intelligence of all expressions of life can be recognized for their inherent value. In our view, she has expanded the concepts for feminism here and applied it to all species. Her compelling installation, Herd, was inspired by a chance encounter on a trail with a white tailed deer, its huge ears moving continuously and independently from each other as it observed her presence. Tinged with animism, the sculpture supplants the notion that we humans are the only observers and recorders. The ears are at various positions of attention, suggesting glimpses of alert and listening animals, transforming the gallery wall into a metonymic representation of a forest. Ground Luminosity elliptically refers to the relationship between humans and insects, particularly that of lifecycle and biomass. Their numbers are so much greater than ours, their lifespan so very brief. Their forms, what they are made of, their lack of individuation: all are foreign to us. The sound component immerses the viewer in an insect world of sorts. Subtle overlapping sounds of clicking, chomping, and fluttering fill the air and reference insect biomass and behavior. A digital animation of a moth, luminously white, relentlessly fluttering in place, offers a mesmerizing visual to focus attention. Teresa Cunniff, Herd (left, detail below) resin, hydrated alumina 108 x 36 x 6�, 2011

Teresa Cunniff, Ground Luminosity (below) digital media and sound size variee, 2009



Jessica Drenk Jessica Drenk was raised in Montana where she developed an appreciation for the natural world that remains an important inspiration to her artwork today. Tactile and textural, her sculptures highlight the chaos and beauty that can be found in simple materials such as books and pencils and more recently, PVC piping. Drenk’s work is also influenced by systems of information and the impulse to develop an encyclopedic understanding of the world.

Jessica Drenk, Cirrosa 2 books, wax, glue 51 x 41 x 2”, 2012 detail above

With a physicist’s fascination with forms and patterns in nature, Drenk interacts with her materials, pushing them beyond their normal function. She “intuits” science and the work resonates with nature in a way that rings true. Her sculptures with sliced and carved book pages like Cirrosa 2 may call to mind moss or lichen. Words like membrane and filament, network and root system come to mind - patterns in nature that operate on microscopic, macroscopic and even telescopic levels. There is a native intelligence here merging observation, information and intuition into art forms that are entirely unique and engaging. In 2009, Drenk received an Artist Project Grant, funding the installation of Archaeologica at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona. In 2006, Drenk was awarded the International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award. Her work has been pictured in Sculpture, Interior Design, and Curve magazines and seen in shows at the International Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey, the Albuquerque Museum, the Tucson Museum of Art, the International Book Fair of Contemporary Creative Books in Marseilles, France, as well as galleries and art fairs across the United States.



Devorah Jacoby In the dreamy, sometimes nightmarish world painter Devorah Jacoby creates on canvas, dichotomies coexist with a quiet psychological power - chaos and calm, violence and tranquility, rebellion and conformity, domesticity and adventure, beauty and ugliness. Behind the painterly brushwork and the beautiful bodies that inhabit her art are images and ideas that provoke and stimulate and often disturb. But always tastefully, skillfully, colorfully, sensually. Jacoby is fearless, both in her refusal to shy away from difficult subject matter and in her process - taking risks in her paintings and resolving them with unerring instinct. Tactical Encounter is quintessential Jacoby. The gorgeously articulated figure of a small girl clings to the back of a bird like an image in a dream or a fairy tale. In the background, there is a collaged image of a used target from a shooting range, shot full of holes. The phrase, Tactical Encounter is one often used by military and police to refer to the appropriate uses of gunfire and the targets depict various situations where officers may need to use careful aim. In the wake of school shootings and increased gun violence, the painting takes on a dark poignancy while remaining entirely engaging.

Devorah Jacoby, Tactical Encounter oil and mixed media 48 x 48�, 2010 detail left


Nancy Legge, Petra, (Latin, Stone) bronze 15.5 x 5 x 2, 2005


Nancy Legge Nancy Legge is a figurative sculptor, whose work investigates the power of abstraction and its expressive possibilities. It was initially fueled by ancient stone circles like the Stones of Callanish in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and more reknowned sites like Stonehenge and Avebury in southern England. From the first time she saw early Greek Cycladic sculpture, the fragmented figure has been a visual preoccupation for her -- particularly, she has noted, as it relates to the Japanese idea of “zan ketsu no bi” – finding beauty in something missing. All of her work begins in clay. She works with raku and pit fire processes and also casts in bronze. The works chosen for the exhibition, Eryn and Petra, are cast bronze pieces. They are decidely feminine , though subtly so. They appear ancient as though they might have been unearthed in an archeological dig, permanent and fixed in time.

Nancy Legge, Eryn (English, Peaceful) bronze 12 x 2.5 x 2, 2013



Emily Payne As a child in Mill Valley, a woodsy enclave north of San Francisco, Emily Payne remembers a sculpture by Ruth Asawa that hung in her parent ’s study. “I recall being struck by a photograph we had of her building one of her wire hanging pieces on her studio floor, surrounded by three of her six children.” Like Asawa, Emily Payne creates drawings out of wire. When she sits down in her studio to make a work of art, she is not just interacting with her materials. She is considering everything. She is concerned with how the work will occupy space or appear to contain it. She is concerned with how angles of light might create shadows and how she can incorporate the shadows into the experience. Drawing is at the heart of Emily Payne’s work. Whether drawing three dimensionally with wire, pencil or the edges of paper, she is concerned with distilled and simplified information and the innumerable ways that objects, even simple objects interact with their environment. Her works are a reduction of items and images to their most simple elements - circles, torn bits of paper, pencil, gouache and pins. In her Pinwheel Series she begins with circles made of wire bisected by staight lines creating pie-shaped areas. Using scraped down cloth from the covers of books and transparent paper, she fashions abstract variations in the pie shapes. They are simple in construction but elegant in presence. Payne is not interested in grand objects, but in everyday things. She is fascinated with shapes. She likes taking items apart and recreating them in an effort to get down to the essence of the thing. Page 18 Emily Payne, Blue Pinwheel wire, book cover, paper 36 x 36”, 2014

Page 19 Emily Payne, Pinwheel 2 (above) 22 x 22”, 2012 Pinwheel (red/grey) (left) 20 x 20”, 2014 wire, book cover, paper 21

Inez Storer, Captain Marvel and Harlow (details right) oil, mixed media on panel 36 x 48�, 2013


Inez Storer

Inez Storer has stories to tell. Her heroines are like cutouts that she can move into hundreds of improbable situations invented in her limitless imagination.

Storer grew up in Hollywood (her father was an emigre’ art director who worked on over 60 films), where sets created imaginary worlds and actresses could be transformed into queens and concubines. Some of her paintings (Captain Marvel and Harlow, for one) are like masterful storyboards. The words Captain Marvel, Harlow, Matisse and Pushkin are written on the surface of the canvas as though the artist was noting down the ingredients for an imaginative pictorial gumbo. In Her Room, an intensely satisfying work, is an extension of her recent one person exhibition where Matisse provided the central inspiration. The artist flattens the picture plane and creates a world of color, pattern with strong divisions of space. The female figure, with her striped peasant blouse and hat blends perfectly with her environment. She is “Matisse Woman” created in Storer’s fertile imagination, giving us a glimpse of how one might imagine themself as a character in a Matisse painting. Inez Storer was born in Santa Monica and studied at the Art Center in Los Angeles, the SF Art Institute, UC Berkeley, and the SF College for Women. She received her B.A. from Dominican University and her M.A. from SF State University. Solo exhibitions include the Reno Museum of Art, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Monterey Museum of Art, the Fresno Art Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Missoula Museum of Art, Montana, and The National Museum of Jewish History, Philadelphia. She is in museum and private collections around the world.


Inez Storer, In Her Room oil, mixed media on panel 24 x 30�, 2013




23 Sunnyside Ave. l Mill Valley, CA 94941 l 415.384.8288 l

Womens Work: Seager Gray Gallery  

Full color catalog of Women's Work, an exhibition of work by Lia Cook, Teresa Cunniff, Jessica Drenk, Devorah Jacoby, Lisa Kokin, Nancy Legg...

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