Omaha artist Courtney Kenny Porto may not be the political activist one normally associates with feminism, but that doesn’t prevent her and her art from drawing attention to what it’s like to be a female on a more social and personal level.
Porto’s current exhibit, I Heard She’s a Feminist, which opens at the Connect Gallery Mar. 4 and continues to the 28th, should leave little doubt in the viewer’s mind, despite its self-effacing title, that the artist cares about what it’s like to live inside a woman’s body emotionally and physically.
With a fine sense of humor and of self, she will exhibit three tampon prints titled “What is it?”, “It’s a Tampon” and “Sorry I Asked”, all of which express the common societal repulsion of the menstrual cycle.
“I’m tired of being ashamed and embarrassed by my own body,” Porto said. “I’m tired of hiding a box of tampons underneath the rest of my groceries while I am perfectly comfortable prominently displaying 24 rolls of toilet paper.”
Using the same school of thought as some behavioral therapists, the artist is intentionally exposing the public to large prints of tampons in order to normalize menstruation and everything that is associated with it.
Besides featuring these prints I Heard She’s a Feminist will also showcase other figurative and feminist works that continue Porto’s interest in the female form in a more direct connection with women’s issues.
“I am drawn to the human form…the elegance, fluidity and sincerity in the female figure captivate me, “she says in her artist statement. “These pieces illustrate the social pressures, struggles, sexuality and poise of being a woman. They celebrate the unique characteristics and differences that make up the female gender.”
Viewers can enjoy both sets of works and meet the artist at a reception, Mar 20, 5:30-9 p.m. The Connect Gallery is located at 3901 Leavenworth St., Omaha, NE.