Women in Illustration
School of Visual Arts presents “Women in Illustration,” an exhibition of work by female MFA Illustration as Visual Essay alumni who have authored or illustrated books within the past year. Curated by Marshall Arisman, department chair, and Kim Ablondi, the department’s director of operations, “Women in Illustration” is on view Saturday, February 6, through Thursday, March 3, at the SVA Gramercy Gallery, 209 East 23rd Street, New York City.
Representing nine artists from the New York City area, “Women in Illustration” showcases work by women who, in the words of the curators, “are all acknowledged forces in a world once thought to be male dominated.”
Do Unto Animals: A Friendly Guide to How Animals Live and How We Can Make Their Lives Better (Artisan, 2015), illustrated by Lisel Ashlock (2009) and written by animal advocate and former veterinary technician Tracey Stewart, explores the secret lives on animals and the kindest ways to live alongside them.
Not That Kind of Girl (Random House, 2014), the bestselling book by Lena Dunham, creator and star of the HBO series Girls, was illustrated by Joana Avillez (2012). Dunham says Avillez’s drawings for the book are “a gorgeous combination of old-fashioned and modern, and really express the feminine strength that was my goal” in writing her story.
Actor David Duchovny’s debut novel, Holy Cow (Farrar Staus & Giroux, 2015), features a cover illustration by Natalya Balnova (2013) that captures the book’s charismatic, wisecracking narrator, Elsie Bovary.
A Big Surprise for Little Card (Candlewick, 2016), illustrated by Anna Raff (2009) and written by Charise Mericle Harper, tells the story of a library card who mistakenly attends birthday card school.
Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future (Random House, 2015), by National Book Award finalist Lauren Redniss (2000), is an illustrated journey through the diverse and extreme forms of weather that occur all over the world.
The Book of Memory Gaps (Blue Rider Press, 2015), by Cecilia Ruiz (2012), is a collection of darkly humorous short stories that examine our curious and capricious unconscious.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham collaborated with illustrator Yuko Shimizu (2003) on A Wild Swan and Other Tales (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015), which reimagines popular fairy tales.
A Year Without Mom (Groundwood Books, 2015), by Dasha Tolstikova (2012), tells the story of a 12-year-old Russian girl’s turmoil after her mother leaves Moscow for the U.S. in the early 1990s.
Sweaterweather: & Other Stories (First Second, 2016), by Sara Varon (2002), is a collection of 17 pieces— including short stories, info-comics and paper dolls—all connected by journal entries.
MFA Illustration as Visual Essay at SVA is designed to maximize students’ opportunities as figurative artists, from the gallery wall to the full range of digital, print and online media. The program fuses the development of creative thinking with technical and communication skills. Additional focus is placed on best practices in navigating the visual-art marketplace while empowering students to choose art-making as a way of life.