Women's History Month may have just ended, but the celebration of women continues at Danville's Village Theatre Art Gallery where trailblazers, leaders and innovators are on display in "Women Who Dare."
The exhibit features works painted by the Bay Area Studio Artists and showcases those who dared to challenge societal norms, break glass ceilings and forge new pathways for girls and women.
According to Joanne Taeuffer, who curated "Women Who Dare" with artist Marcy Wheeler, it took three years to debut. The exhibit, she said, was originally planned in 2019 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment's ratification in 2020.
"Of course, the show didn't happen in 2020 because of COVID. But, we persisted. In fact, during the hiatus of art shows during COVID, we continued to paint for the show and the results are better than we could have expected," Taeuffer said, adding:
"Ultimately, we think every day is a day to celebrate and cheer on women who are still fighting the good fight for independence, equality and a little bit of power."
Taeuffer said although most paintings feature recognizable faces, some, including one of her own, "Reveries," focus on the everywoman.
"I like creating the idealized vision of an everywoman," she said. "('Reveries' is of) a young woman sitting at a table pensively staring into space. One can imagine any number of thoughts that might be going through her head. I like to think she is plotting to take over the world."
The exhibit, according to Taeuffer, also contains two collaborative pieces, "RBG" and "Holding Hands," both painted as "a way of expressing the importance of solidarity among women."
"RBG" depicts former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Entwined in Ginsburg's black justice robe are images of other "women who dared": Maya Angelou, Michelle Obama, Betty Ford, Sally Ride, Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ella Fitzgerald and Rosa Parks, in addition to present day protestors marching, the Supreme Court building and a painting of Ginsburg's husband, Martin.
Smaller paintings of the women who came before, suffragists who fought for women's right to vote, make up Ginsburg's collar and the Statue of Liberty peers out from behind Ginsburg's signature pulled back hair.
"We owe a debt of gratitude to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who dared to challenge the old laws of the land that accorded unequal status for men and women," reads the painting's description.
"Holding Hands," Taeuffer said, contains a "series of self-portraits with smaller canvases between them showing us holding hands. The commentary on the piece says, 'Sometimes we can do it all ourselves. Sometimes we have to hold hands. Sometimes we're too far apart to hold hands.'"
In addition to Taeuffer and Wheeler, paintings by Suzun Almquist, Jeanette Baird, Lassie Colebourn, Ellen Reintjes, Ruth Stanton and Sharon Tama are displayed.
"Women Who Dare" is on display at the Village Theatre in downtown Danville through May 20. The gallery is open Wednesdays through Fridays from noon to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 11 am. to 3 p.m. and by appointment. Admission is free.