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Pat Boas to Discuss Her Approach to the Push for Women’s Rights
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Pat Boas, “Sentinels,” 2020, acrylic and flashe on linen over panel. Courtesy: the artist and Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland.
 
 
Sunday, January 10, 2021
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Abigail Scott Duniway has been called Oregon’s “Mother of Equal Suffrage” and “the pioneer Woman Suffragist of the great Northwest.” But this outspoken and often controversial woman who dedicated more than 40 years to the cause of women’s rights was also the single most important figure in the 1896 passage of women’s suffrage in Idaho.

That passage came 16 years before Duniway’s own state of Oregon gave women the right to vote and 24 years before the rest of the nation gave women the right to vote.

Pat Boas has memorialized Duniway’s contributions in a poster featuring a speech Duniway gave in Boise in 1889. And it’s part of the Sun Valley Museum of Art’s new BIG IDEA project “Deeds Not Words: Women Working for Change,” which revolves around the push for women’s suffrage in Idaho and the American West.

The Museum’s Courtney Gilbert will discuss the project with Boas during a free livestreamed conversation at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11.

“I have been a fan of Pat Boas’s work for a number of years, and I find it fascinating how she incorporates ideas about reading and text into her beautiful paintings,” said Gilbert. “Everyone who joins us for this talk will come away with a better understanding of Pat’s practice as well as the history of women’s struggle for the right to vote in Idaho, the American West and the nation’s capital.”

Indeed, Boas’s drawings, paintings and prints are driven by her fascination with the common and complex activity of reading. She represents language—words and type—in lyrically abstract works. And she often finds source material in historical and contemporary events and texts including the monograms of historical women who have worked for change.

After the Sun Valley Museum of Arts invited the Portland artist to create a new body of work, Boas produced an installation that includes new paintings, artist-designed wallpaper and the poster featuring Duniway’s speech.

The installation, which can be seen between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at the Ketchum museum, includes five paintings that Boas calls “Sentinels.” The title is a reference to the Silent Sentinels, a group of women the suffragist Alice Paul organized to protest outside the White House starting in January 1917.

Despite facing harassment and arrest, the Silent Sentinels maintained their presence in Washington, D.C., until June 1919, when Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

During Monday’s conversation, Boas will also address the installation within the larger context of her interest in the connection between language and visual form, and the ways that words and direct action work together to promote change.

The Livestream Art Talk is free, but pre-registration is required to access the Crowdcast link where the talk will be livestreamed. For more information or to register for the event, visit svmoa.org, call 208.726.9491 or visit The Museum box office at 191 Fifth Street East in Ketchum.

 

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