Walking into 3S Artspace’s Exhibition, Woven Female Landscape, the viewer is met with three monochromatic pieces that beg the question, “What does it mean to be feminine?” The all-white pieces fill the room with a sense of purity and ease and offer the visitor a “sanctuary.” While taking in the work it is difficult not to question your own views on femininity and the deeper meaning behind each piece.   

3S Artspace, located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire is showcasing the artistic work of Linda Pagani in their contemporary art gallery. Pagani’s exhibit, Woven Female Landscape opened on Nov. 20, 2020 and will remain open through Jan. 3, 2021. The exhibit is showcasing three pieces, each created from a different material. The first piece is titled “Garden of Eve” and consists of 3,000+ paper flowers created by women throughout the country. Pagani invites visitors to add to “the garden” while visiting so it may continue to grow. The second piece holds the same name as the exhibit, “Woven Female Landscape.” This piece is made from cheesecloth and contains “forms” often associated with women. The final piece rests on the floor of the gallery and contains porcelain vessels; it is titled, “I’mperfect.” 

Pagani has been a practicing artist for seven years; she is an interdisciplinary artist who works with many mediums. In 2001, she began studying interior architecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and later went on to study fine arts at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.  

The idea behind Woven Female Landscape was sparked from Pagani’s own thoughts about the female story and who gets to narrate this story over time – “I was sure it should be women, but that’s not always the case,” Pagani stated. Over the past few years, she took in all the female movements, protests and marches taking place and saw how women are presented in a social light.  

“I felt that it was my duty and a legacy that my generation could leave behind for not only young females, but also young males about how is it that women should identify themselves right now,” Pagani said. “I was thinking a lot about female identity in general and I really questioned, what does it mean to be feminine? and how do we use our femininity as women? – and I don’t have the answers, I am asking them.”   

Each year 3S Artspace presents an “open call” to artists. This allows artists to submit an application to be reviewed by the 3S committee. Pagani responded to the open call and the committee saw that her work fit the 3S Gallery space and the overall mission of their non-profit organization. Beth Falconer, the Executive Director of four years said “It was her overall installation that we wanted to show. We did not see them as three individual pieces, we saw it as a single installation. I am always looking for a balanced season, and a diverse season of form, concept, content, and medium. We had a lot of very intense work this year, and I think while Woven Female Landscape asks a lot of substantive and meaningful questions about gender, sisterhood, the evolution of feminism, and the evolution of identity, it does so in a way that is soft, serene, and peaceful.” 

Pagani chose to keep this exhibit all white. She said that it gives the visitor the feel of a sanctuary.  

“I want the environment to be very spiritual, very quiet, and powerful,” Pagani said. “I knew that I did not need color for that. I thought that it would be more powerful in all white.”  

For people who cannot attend the exhibit in-person due to COVID-19, there is an interactive virtual exhibit on 3S Artspace’s

website. 

Photos courtesy of Linda Pagani