Girl Dinner: A Review

(This may be a potentially biased event review, perhaps.)

The energy in Abbozzo Gallery last Friday was something special. The room was filled with bows, heels and giggles, impromptu photo ops and the friendliest chit chat.

The full gallery on opening night

I cannot thank everyone who came out enough for your kind words and show of support whether you came to see me, the other artists, or you are a regular attendee at Abbozzo’s opening nights. Congratulations and thanks to Abbozzo Gallery as well for curating such a beautiful show and for finding creative ways to invite a wider audience to experience fine arts and art collecting.

I have been looking forward to this event from the moment the theme was revealed to me. It is no secret that in a patriarchal society there are plenty of restraints on the behaviours of girls, higher expectations for girls to behave, to be sweet, to bear the burden of emotional labour. But I truly feel in recent years there has been a movement to reclaim, define, and understand girlhood, as something special, unique, and important.

Girlhood – the things girls, and girls who have grown into women, do for themselves and “for the girls”. And whether you see it as the uncovering of silly (as in out of the norm from our lens of normal) shared experiences or as a small act of rebellion to exist outside of the purview of men, girl-coded experiences bring people together to appreciate what girls might do when no one’s watching. 

Girl Dinner” is honest. It is admitting that maybe you don’t cook for the love of cooking, or even the love of eating, but for the love of others. It is taking the freedom we have as women to express ourselves without the same pressures men might feel, and using it for good. Having a little treat after a hard day because that’s what’s going to make us feel better. And maybe that’s the difference we feel, but can’t quite put our finger on, between something being labeled girly, or womanly, or manly – a spectrum of how free you are to shamelessly express your needs and joy and misery.

If you connect with this exhibition theme, I highly encourage you to check out the poem “When I Say That We Are All Teen Girls” by Olivia Gatwood. I think everyone’s internal teen girl was feeling a bit of giddy excitement at having been a part of our opening night.

Abbozzo Gallery curator, Hannah Scott, writes in her exhibition statement that “the combination of artists and mediums in this group exhibition is meant to echo the delightful varieties that make up a quintessential girl dinner”. Not only did the variety of work reflect the amalgamation of snacks that together qualify as girl dinner, but it beautifully presented the range of experience that exists in girlhood.

Ehiko Odeh uses her work to uncover the intricate layers of hair care, the hair industry’s complexities, and the essence of self-nurturing. Her included work presented paintings of classic hair care products that are lively and aesthetically pleasing for any audience, but that connect intimately with black women who have grown up on these staple products. You could overhear girls grouping to point out to each other the creams and gels that brought them back to sitting in front of the mirror while their mother figures detangled and styled with care. Ehiko has had a busy start to the year, also presenting a 1970’s salon inspired immersive exhibition as part of DesignTO titled “Golden Beauty Supply” that was extended until February 2nd.  

Ehiko's painting

Hyun Young Yang uses distorted mirrors to comment on self-reflection and the emotions it can stir up. And what is more relatable than looking at your reflection until you can’t recognize yourself? I know I have felt alien in my own body time and again as I became less human, more self-improvement project, and I would argue that this is an experience many women share. Hyun Young’s own self-reflection invites the viewer to do the same in a kind of self-reflection inception that leaves you feeling inspired to understand further.

Hyun Young's painting

Alana Kinsey showcases the tiny everyday moments of girlhood in her each of her tiny pieces. The size itself of her work feels consistent with the cuteness of this exhibition theme.

Alana's painting

Holly Stapleton works with the dreamiest pastel tones to convey such specific emotions which explains her (well-deserved) lengthy portfolio of editorial illustrations (check out her instagram highlights!). I’ve yet to meet her in person, but based on her exhibition comment alone, I know I’d like her.

Holly's painting

Charlotte Blake has redefined the feminine urge to gather with her repurposed woven craftsmanship.

Charlotte's sculpture

Alicia Gimeno highlights the natural raw power of feminine energy with her understated and organic abstract works.

Alicia's painting

My neck could hardly hold up my head by the end of the night with all the generous compliments. I feel honoured to have had my work displayed with these other girls’. I do think with the narrative and figurative focus of my work it can be quite approachable for viewers who are less familiar with fine art, but have read their share of bedtime stories, and I feel proud of the part I played to bring the theme of this show to life.

I’m inclined to think (based on the evidence I collected Friday night, of course) that some of the coolest, kindest people are excited by this show. If you want a chance to experience it yourself, it will be on display until March 30th, free of charge, during Abbozzo’s standard hours.

Puppy in gallery

1 comment


omg thanks for featuring me on your blog!! love your articles

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