The exhibition Girls’ Night Out presents groundbreaking photography and video by two generations of female artists who embrace a more evocative and poetic approach to female identity. Their work over the last decade shares themes such as youth culture, new notions of beauty, and a lyrical expression of the inner desires, dreams, and aspirations of their subjects.
Girls’ Night Out, explores the work of a young generation of women artists—working primarily in photography and video—who incorporate many key issues of postmodernism associated with feminism, yet articulated in poetic, quasi-documentary and non-ironic modes. While an earlier generation of artists dealt with social and political themes in their work by reverting to the use of provocation and didacticism, the artists in Girls’ Night Out employ a very different means of expression. In place of the use of satire and irony to convey their points, this younger generation’s work has a directness of approach. Within this rubric, this generation is engaged with such classical art genres as self-portraiture and portraiture (especially the passage from girlhood to adulthood), architectural subjects, and landscape. Formally rigorous and aesthetically resolved, this seemingly traditional imagery appears to be embedded with a lyrical and psychological atmosphere and, in some work, a romantic quality. Along with revisiting classical subject matter, the artists in Girls’ Night Out are engaged in fresh and provocative inquiries into such loaded themes as beauty, narrative, melodrama, power, personal and social space, and nature/culture.
Girls’ Night Out features work by artists Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Elina Brotherus, Dorit Cypis, Rineke Dijkstra, Katy Grannan, Sarah Jones, Kelly Nipper, Daniela Rossell, Shirana Shahbazi, and Salla Tykkä.
Girls’ Night Out was organized for the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California by Elizabeth Armstrong, Deputy Director of Programs & Chief Curator, and Irene Hoffman, Curator of Contemporary Art.