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‘Turning Tides’: Collective of local female artists to showcase works in La Jolla exhibit

The exhibit "Turning Tides" opens Aug. 19 at BFree Studio in La Jolla, featuring the 12 members of Time for Women Artists.
The exhibit “Turning Tides” opens Friday, Aug. 19, at BFree Studio in La Jolla, featuring works of the 12 members of Time for Women Artists.
(Courtesy of Time for Women Artists)

An upcoming show at BFree Studio in La Jolla builds on its exhibitors’ mission to strengthen the presence of women in the art world.

The exhibit, called “Turning Tides,” will showcase the work of the 12 members of Time for Women Artists, a collective of San Diego artists formed to offer one another encouragement and empowerment.

The exhibit will run Friday, Aug. 19, through Saturday, Sept. 3, at 7857 Girard Ave. It will be BFree Studio’s largest show yet, according to gallery owner Barbara Freeman.

The theme of the show invited the TWA members to envision what “Turning Tides” means, according to member Gail Titus of La Jolla.

Titus, a longtime ceramicist who is now an abstract painter, said some artists took a literal approach, with art representing the ocean tides, while others created works describing how their world has changed since COVID-19.

“Everybody’s going to interpret it differently,” Titus said. “My particular artwork is literal because I live right on Coast [Boulevard]. … I’ve spent a lot of time watching the ocean.”

"Gravitational Forces" by Gail Titus will be shown in the "Turning Tides" exhibit.
(Courtesy of Gail Titus and BFree Studio)

Titus, who has never had a show in La Jolla, said “to [exhibit] locally is very cool.”

Member Maite Benito Agahnia, also a longtime La Jollan, is an abstract painter who works in mixed media. “This show in La Jolla is very exciting,” she said. “Being able to share my work with the community, I’m really looking forward to it.”

TWA began six or seven years ago with female artists “just having coffee and talking about art,” Titus said. The current dozen members represent multiple artistic disciplines, generations and ethnicities, the common thread being that they “just want to connect.”

The members “started out by talking to each other about different opportunities or articles we read or concerns or questions we had about our artwork,” Titus said.

As the group strengthened, it had a show at the Oceanside Museum of Art that Titus said was a huge success.

“Since then we’ve gotten stronger in that we’re all really devoted to our artwork,” Titus said.

“We feel like it’s time for women to be able to show their work, that women do strong work, they do valid work and we’re underrepresented.”

— Gail Titus

TWA’s mission is “to collaborate and support fellow women artists on their creative journeys,” she said. “Exhibiting together leads us to a stronger presence and the opportunity to have a compelling impact on the art world.”

The collective’s monthly meetings might feature a guest speaker telling how best to pack and ship artwork or an artist sharing her struggles.

“We’re supporting each other’s careers in the arts,” Titus said.

TWA, which currently includes Agahnia, Titus, Bronle Crosby, Theresa Vandenberg Donche, Lori Mitchell, Alison Haley Paul, Manuelita Brown, Susan Darnall, Julia C.R. Gray, Gillian Moss, Christine Schwimmer and Brenda York, is “very dynamic,” Agahnia said.

Its value lies in its creation of community, she added.

“Generally, we’re painting in our studios by ourselves,” Agahnia said, “and having this camaraderie … where we can bounce ideas off each other and do things together, especially as women, it really empowers us.

“We all bring something to the table and we work great together.”

Titus said “one of the things that we recognize as female artists is that men are more represented historically in the arts than females. We feel like it’s time for women to be able to show their work, that women do strong work, they do valid work and we’re underrepresented.”

“It’s a way of communicating and bringing to the community … what it is that we do and we strive to make change and to speak out for all women,” Agahnia said.

Exhibiting “Turning Tides” at BFree Studio, a gallery owned by a woman, is exciting, Agahnia said. “It’s women supporting women.”

“It does fall in line with what we want to do and how we’re doing it,” Titus said. “It’s great working with women. It’s great working with smart women. It’s great working with professional women. We love it.”

For more information about “Turning Tides,” visit bfreestudio.net. For information about Time for Women Artists, visit timeforwomenartists.com.