Female artists in the spotlight

Andaz West Hollywood, located on the legendary Sunset Strip, has partnered with Los Angeles-based Band of Vices, a Black-owned art gallery that embraces uniqueness, diversity and inclusion, to curate SHE’d, an installation featuring three female artists from the U.S., South Africa and Poland. The exhibition highlights the defiant and thought-provoking work of Sharon Louise Barnes, Leila Rose Fanner and Edyta Pachowicz, which is showcased throughout the hotel’s Art Exhibit Mezzanine Level.

The collaboration between Band of Vices and Andaz West Hollywood aligns with the hotel’s efforts to partner with local Black-owned businesses and artists. It was a natural fit given the gallery’s mission to elevate talent pools that have been historically undervalued or overlooked and Andaz West Hollywood’s commitment to embracing a free-spirited and disruptive artistic energy. The 21 works featured in SHE’d reveal each woman’s perspective through varying techniques and palettes.

“We decided to partner with Band of Vices because their art is amazing and it’s a local black owned business,” said Julian Tucker, GM, Andaz West Hollywood. “Andaz West Hollywood holds a deep commitment to embracing a free-spirited and disruptive artistic energy, and the 21 works in the SHE’d exhibit encompass that precisely. With the bold and intriguing work of Sharon Louise Barnes, Leila Rose Fanner and Edyta Pachowicz, we feel that this exhibit will draw guests into a deeper conversation surrounding gender, race and societal power structures. With our history rooted in eccentric rock ‘n’ roll and old Hollywood, we have always had a desire to push the envelope when it comes to welcoming new art into our doors.”

Sharon Louise Barnes, a native of Sacramento, CA, works in mixed media, using acrylic and ink and incorporating industrial materials and discarded items typically found on city streets to create abstract canvases that are both conceptual and aesthetic. Her works look outward to society, opening dialogues about marginalization, about how we determine value and the potency of change. They also speak to her African American heritage, of building something from very little or nothing, and demonstrate the power to transform one’s condition through the exercise of will. Seven of Barnes’ works are featured. A 2021 trio of canvases titled Shadows Cut From Shadows Cut From Shade is inspired by a poem by Langston Hughes, while her 2019 diptych The Precarious Magic is to Rise Through the Flames Unburned features acrylic, ink, enamel, cut painted paper and miscellaneous mixed media on two canvases. Pictured above is Barnes’ Warmth of Dark Energies #4.

Leila Rose Fanner, who lives and works in South Africa, is of mixed race, the daughter of a Black American father and a White South African mother. Having grown up not knowing her father or his family, Fanner creates silhouettes that often represent unfinished stories and the sense of untapped potential that accompanies them. The exhibition presents six of her paintings, either gouache and acrylic or oil on canvas, featuring a solitary feminine figure that integrates the paternal side of her personal history and also represents a universal deep subconscious, the shadow part of the self. In vibrant works such as Dragonfly II, 2020, Rose Blanket I (Picnic Series No.7), 2020 and Serving For One—PICNIC series, 2020 (pictured above), she is discovering her true nature and a sense of belonging within the abundance of all that is.

Edyta Pachowicz, who was born in Poland but raised in the U.S., creates a contemporary interpretation of the human form, embracing a limited palette and a technique that invites the viewer to move into a space of introspection. While she uses a variety of mediums in each of the eight pieces on exhibit, her methodology remains consistent. They are linked by the recurring idea of figures, relying on our desires for beauty and seduction in a process that points to the sameness and difference in ourselves and others, which are hidden in plain sight. In works such as Braids, 2021 (pictured above), Freckles for Days, 2021 and In Anticipation of You, 2015, her intention is to empower the viewer to find themselves, in hopes of making visible what is overlooked.

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