Contemporary Sculptor’s Career Comes Full Circle in 2020
Summer Exhibition by Alan LeQuire Culminates 40 Years Recognizing Women
ALAN LEQUIRE: MONUMENTAL WOMEN
July 18 – September 12, 2020
For Immediate Release: Nashville, TN
Sculptor Alan LeQuire has spent the majority of his career honoring women by making portraits. A walk through his Nashville gallery and studio reveals a vast body of work, miniature to monumental in scale, in bronze, plaster and terra cotta. His colossal Athena Parthenos, the largest indoor sculpture in the western world, recreates one of the most important monumental goddess statues of all time, and five of his public monuments commemorate woman suffrage in the state that had the final vote to ratify the 19th Amendment. In this centennial year of woman suffrage, and an important time for women in contemporary history, a comprehensive exhibit is being curated, cementing what LeQuire has been quietly suggesting and aiming for, for forty years.
The exhibit, Monumental Women, is being timed for the summer of 2020, forecast to be the peak time for the thousands of historians and suffrage fans who have already organized travel plans to take in as much as possible regarding the subject. Recasts of more than a dozen of LeQuire’s twenty-plus suffrage portraits will be included such as Ida. B. Wells, Carrie Chapman Catt, J. Frankie Pierce and Anne Dallas Dudley. Maquettes for some of the public monuments will be on view, and LeQuire’s new 100 Year March, a small bronze commemorating suffrage, will be available for purchase. While the exhibit certainly intends a nod to the hundreds of suffrage heroines, the depth of Monumental Women is much broader.
“From the beginning of my training as a sculptor, the female figure has been the focus. Any possible form or texture can be found in the human body, and the magical configuration of forms in the female body can prompt an emotional reaction from almost anyone. That is why it is used in traditional academic training and why I continue to pursue an understanding of it even after years of sculpting. My teachers also sculpted the female figure, and when I work I feel connected to them and to other artists going back centuries.
Early in my career I honed the skills to make portraits in clay and bronze. Noticing how few portraits of women existed in public spaces, I wanted to bridge that gap. I have had some wonderful clients who felt the same way. One of my first commissions was a life-size portrait of Margaret Branscomb for Vanderbilt University. The goal of honoring real women was interrupted to some extent when I won the competition to re-create Athena for the Parthenon in Nashville. She is an idealized figure, of course, and I was attempting to mimic the style of Pheidias, but I see the Athena statue as part of the same objective that I have had all along – to honor women. I think the statue of Athena, at 42 feet tall does that for the contemporary audience.
In 2016 we unveiled my Tennessee Woman Suffrage Monument in Nashville, which has heroic scale portraits of five women. It seemed appropriate to place these real women on the same grounds in Centennial Park with the Parthenon and Athena. They are a reminder of the importance of real women taking real political action, and for me a continuation of the goal of honoring all women.” – Alan LeQuire
Throughout the Monumental Women exhibit – threaded in and among the intense and captivating presence of LeQuire’s suffragists, will be new works, such as examples of his Caryatids, Women in Drapery, and Women with Animals series. His portrait of Cornelia Fort will be on view. Fort was just one of just a hand-full of women aviators during the first half of the 20th century, and the first United States pilot to encounter the Japanese air fleet during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Visitors to Nashville and the Monumental Women exhibit can also expect to be overwhelmed by LeQuire’s colossal (4x life-size) portraits of blues icons Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday, both of whom leveraged their careers for the sake of civil rights.
Along with these notables will stand many other contemporary figurative works by sculptor, Alan LeQuire – all unique with his signature use of surface texture and striking likenesses – all representing the strength, perseverance and physical beauty of women.
A 2016 Smithsonian Magazine feature focused on the lack of recognition of women:
“When you walk the streets of cities like New York and Washington, D.C., it’s hard to miss the sculptures that mark the parks and neighborhoods. Historic figures often can be seen standing erect or sitting astride on their horses, stoically striking a pose. More often than not, these statues have another thing in common: their gender. The majority of public statues in the United States are of men”.
In 2016 alone, Alan LeQuire added 5 larger-than-life statues of women to the national equation in his Tennessee Woman Suffrage Monument. Later this year, he will unveil 5 more included in the new Equality Trailblazers Monument for Memphis.
About LeQuire Gallery & Studio:
LeQuire Gallery & Studio is unique in that it is one of the few spaces dedicated to both the retail of fine art, and the opportunity for an incredible “backstage” experience that studios of career artists typically afford, but are not often accessible. About fifteen different artists are represented in the 5000 sq. ft. building, found in West Nashville, representing no particular genre, but clearly embodying the long-established spirit of atelier. Maggie Rose, for instance, teaches master workshops at the New York Academy of Art. Juliette Aristides pioneered the Aristides Atelier at the Gage Academy in Seattle, WA. Contemporary Impressionist Lori Putnam, teaches, competes, and judges the category of plein air literally all over the world. And sculptor, Alan LeQuire has been offering his Open Studio since the mid-1980’s. All support the traditional methods of painting, drawing and sculpting that only decades in the studio can produce, and all believe the only way to keep these methods alive and well is by passing down the body of knowledge to the next generation – through the studio.
Nashville is fortunate to have an anchor artist such as Alan LeQuire, whose generous spirit allows for continued inspiration and education –through visitation of his private studio space — as well as the support and recognition of other mid-career artists in his gallery.
For more information:
Open Studio with Alan LeQuire https://t.e2ma.net/webview/fyrdgc/373a95186a1934585cf059c235e7b766
TN Woman Suffrage Heritage Trail: https://tnwomansuffrageheritagetrail.com
Cornelia Fort: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornelia_Fort
Smithsonian Magazine: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/its-way-too-hard-to-find-statues-of-notable-women-in-the-us-180958237/
Equality Trailblazers Monument: https://tnwomansuffrageheritagetrail.com/events/
Alan LeQuire: https://www.alanlequire.com