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The Battalion

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Professor with a new vision of women

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Photo by Courtesy of George Brainard

A&M visualization professor Felice House will have two paintings featured at the J. Wayne Stark gallery.

The J. Wayne Stark Galleries premiered the travelling “Women Painting Women” exhibit on Oct. 18, which features the work of Texas A&M visualization assistant professor Felice House.
Before becoming an assistant professor at A&M, House dedicated years of her life working at her studio in Bryan as a portrait painter. She received a graduate’s degree in painting in 2011 from the University of Texas and began work at A&M in 2012 as a lecturer before transitioning to her current position in 2013.
Learning to paint at an early age from her mother, House said she would accompany her mother to life-drawing classes at Amherst University in Massachusetts.
“When I got to college and took my first painting class, I walked into the room and the smell was so familiar,” House said. “I had a box of paints and I just felt like I arrived. I knew that this is what I am supposed to be doing.”
In 2009, House said she heard about the “Women Painting Women” exhibit in South Carolina from her mother.
“I was fascinated by the idea that there are other women in the country that were also interested in women as subjects,” House said. “I have always been interested in painting women as I see them, which is often in contrast to how the media portrays them. It was eye opening to hear about this exhibit.”
After attending a conference with the curator of the exhibit, Alia El-Bermani, House was able to find her place in this exhibit. El-Bermani is a co-founder and organizer for the traveling aspect of this exhibition. El’Bermani said she hopes to illuminate the idea of women and provide a better concept of what they are.
“‘Women Painting Women,’ in general, was created to share a broader vision of what we are,” El-Bermani said. “Women are more than their sex-appeal. Women are more than a consumable product, or even a sellable product. This will show more of our internal experiences and how artists today represent that.”
House will have two paintings featured in the exhibit: A self-portrait and “Liakesha Cooper in High Noon.” Jennifer Balkan, one of the 30 women chosen for the exhibit, said that House’s work relays emotion and reveals subliminal, yet frank, meaning.
“I have a special relationship with Felice House,” Balkan said. “I knew and loved her work before we ever became friends. And now we paint together. I find her Re-Western series from which ‘Liakesha Cooper in High Noon’ is to be clever and eloquently articulated. She has chosen an African-American woman to portray Gary Cooper’s character Will Kane. She has turned this film on its head by replacing the central male character with a woman.”
In 2017, there are still far less representations of women artists in the art world, according to Balkan. She said this exhibition is a time that art appreciators and students get to experience dynamic work by women artists, who each offer unique voices but share the experience of being a woman.
Role models are crucial; however, in regards to women, female heroes have been lacking, according to House.
“Female heroes are few and far between,” House said. “We have to grasp onto the ones that we have. So, I think that this exhibit will show women in a way that anyone could relate to them. This will show women in a more natural state and make known the variety of us that can be celebrated.”
There will be a panel discussion about the exhibit on Oct. 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.in the College of Architecture, and an opening reception that same day at 5:30 p.m in the gallery. The exhibit itself will run until Dec. 16.

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