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Exhibition Drawn to Purpose

Editorial Illustrators

Editorial illustrators produce drawings that illuminate, question, or comment on accompanying text. Their images are grounded in actual events and informed by keen observations of real situations, people, and actions. Although Bernarda Bryson Shahn, Sue Coe, Anita Kunz, and Whitney Sherman have focused on issues specifically affecting women, much of their work addresses other topics. Shahn creates an artful, haunting image of poverty-stricken life in her forthright portrayal of a careworn Arkansas sharecropper and his wife in 1935. Decades later, Coe and Frances Jetter offer two perspectives on the Persian Gulf War. Coe's compelling, dramatic drawing projects timeless, universal associations with war and Jetter's linocut memorializes enemy casualties in her evocative image. Sherman's drawing of a busy schoolyard appears appealing at first glance, but a closer look shows that pills and capsules are visible in the trees and borders, revealing the alarming problem of school children having easy access to drugs. These exemplary works attest to how female artists have broadened the scope of illustration in response to grim social and political realities.

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