By Tess Malijenovsky
Men and women of all ages came in great numbers to ARTworks last Friday, Feb. 24 for the “Re-Nude” Art Fundraiser and Exhibition, not only for the sake of art but for the sake of women and their reproductive rights. Along with live music by Generation Gap, food and beverages, it was a soiree to help raise money for Planned Parenthood — the nation’s leading sexual reproductive health care provider and advocate that doesn’t receive any money from South Carolina’s government.
The “Re-Nude” theme encouraged artists to re-interpret the present day vista of the human body. The response was outstanding. Acrylic and oil paintings, bas-relief decoupage sculptural collage, watercolor, pencil, pastel, monoprint, ceramic, lithographs, cyanotypes, mixed media, Japanese kozo photo, aquatint and photography — it was a monsoon of artistic media that expressed a diverse range of emotions and perspectives on the female form.
From the medically evacuated soldier back from Afghanistan who hopes his photography “brings beauty into the lives of others” as he struggles to find beauty in his own, to the witty “Fools” series that painted modern society’s struggle with conflicting medical information and advice. From a 17-year-old artist who wanted to show “the art of the body” without retribution for her young age, to the new realism painter who chose not to re-invent the nude. The range of art was indicative to the many emotions and interpretations sparked by the theme.
According to Lisa Rentz, the volunteered Transmedia Publicity Leader, Friends of Planned Parenthood of the Lowcountry “is a group of committee members that publicly supports Planned Parenthood to help raise money.”
“Re-Nude” was the second art event put on by the volunteer group in an effort to raise money for healthcare services, education and public policy on women’s reproductive rights. Artists donated half of their proceeds (in some cases all of it) for the cause.
The group formed at the 2004 March for Women’s Lives in Washington, D.C. where member Caren Ross recalls seeing Bonnie Smith (one of the original organizers of the group) waving a South Carolina flag over the crowd.
Bonnie Smith urges young women to learn about their rights and to vote for political representation for women’s reproductive rights.
By Tess Malijenovsky