Women at Work

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Starting April 18, four artists of the Topanga Canyon Gallery are presenting Women at Work. This is a new approach in that three of these artists are women who work in extremely different mediums, and a man presenting a photographic study of working women.

The artists’ intention is that visitors will experience the impressive result of the very physical work of these women, side-by-side with images representing women doing other types of physical work to support their lives and families.

Idelle Okman Tzybir creates much of her work with metal, combined with other elements to create sculptures and structures by hand. Her metal process includes cutting, welding, bending, forging, fitting and grinding metal, cutting, drilling, and smoothing glass. Many include texturing and painting boards, as well as any number of “surprises” that get included as a piece progresses.

Zoe Topsfield makes “paintings” using glass as the “paint.” She uses both crushed and cut sheet glass which she layers and sifts and fires hot in a kiln. Everything melts together, at which time she pulls it out and does it all over again, adding layer over layer, using the transparency and opacity of the glass to create the image. Most of Topsfield’s pieces go through the kiln for 18 hours at least five or six times, usually more.

Carole Carpenter uses dyes to create images on silk. The medium moving from light to dark, which is the opposite of most mediums. According to Carpenter, the most difficult task is to maintain the light. She starts with white silk yardage, composes the image and outlines it onto the silk, then begins layering dye onto the silk, allowing the mix and interaction of colors. She uses salt, alcohol, vodka or lighter colors to move the dyes and develop lighter areas, shading or lines. Once completed and dried, the fabric is steamed for hours to permanently set the dye before it is mounted and framed or adhered to canvas.

The physical work required for these women to create art within their chosen elements is essential to what the viewer experiences in the art itself.

Women doing physical work has been a frequent subject for Patrick Ramsey’s photography. His portraits illustrate working women as genuine and unadorned that reflect his view of women, not romanticized or feminized, but interesting and beautiful in their daily state.

Patrick’s images of diverse working women side-by-side with the three artists enhances their work and invites visitors to peer into the soul of all these women through their work.

Women at Work runs through May 13 with the artists’ reception on Saturday, April 28, 4-7 p.m.


Topanga Canyon Gallery is located at 120 N Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290. For more information: (310) 455-7909; TopangaCanyonGallery.com. Gallery Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, 11 a.m.– 6 p.m.; Friday 12–8 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.–5 p.m.


By Kate Kincade


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