The Coast News Group
Photographer Francine Filsinger in front of her work. “Aftermath” is a collection of photos that tells the story of isolation and abuse. Photo by Promise Yee
Photographer Francine Filsinger in front of her work. “Aftermath” is a collection of photos that tells the story of isolation and abuse. Photo by Promise Yee

Exhibit of artwork featuring women packs a punch

ENCINITAS — “One Woman’s Journey” at the Encinitas Community Center Gallery packs a pretty powerful punch.

“Women aren’t just mothers or whores,” Encinitas Mayor Teresa Barth said. “Maybe we have both in all of us.”

As part of the exhibit select photos by renowned photographer Francine Filsinger depict women’s empowerment and vulnerability.

“The Generational Empowerment of Women” is a series of black and white ink jet print photos by Filsinger that tell an allegorical story of women’s historical barriers and strives to overcome those limits.

In the first photo a quiet yet determined woman is locked behind an iron gate.

Through the photos she secures a key, unlocks the gate, and hands the key to a young girl.

Filsinger said the final photo depicts self-empowerment.

Oceanside Museum of Art executive director Daniel Foster described the works as quiet and understated photos that speak loudly.

“Aftermath” is a more stirring collection of photos in which Filsinger tells the story of isolation and abuse.

There are no bruises or overt physical acts portrayed. Instead Filsinger tells a more rioting story in the posture and expressions of a woman and partial glimpses of a shirtless man.

In “Aftermath” Filsinger uses herself as a model and is almost unrecognizable in the photos.

She explained she set up each shot, and used the timer on her camera to allow herself to get into the frame and pose.

“It’s a voice for the voiceless, to empower those who feel powerless to reach out and get help,” Filsinger said.

“Not everything is beautiful and pretty, but it’s still life.”

Filsinger created both photo series for the Women’s Museum of California in 2012.

“Aftermath” has been displayed internationally.

Filsinger said the common thread her photos share is that they stir a memory or trigger an emotion in the viewer.

“They evoke a response at an emotional spiritual level, that when you walk away from the photo it still stays with you,” Filsinger said. “It’s more than a pretty picture.”

Also included in the exhibit are a variety of works from members of the Oceanside Museum of Art Artist Alliance, with women as the subject.

“There are all types of female figures from different perceptions,” Filsinger said.

“The artists involved at Oceanside Museum of Art are very, very insightful. It’s not your stereotypical artwork.”

Filsinger said the message of the exhibit is to let women know they are not alone in their triumphs and tragedies.

An opening reception was held March 8, to coincide with the kickoff of Women’s History Month, and drew a sizeable crowd.

Many viewers were drawn to the topic of the diverse sides of women.

Others were supporters of support services for women.

“It’s a poignant exhibition,” Danielle Deery, Oceanside Museum of Art director of exhibits and communications, said. “It’s topical because of Women’s History Month. You see what other women are going through and how they express themselves.”

The exhibit is a collaborative effort between the Oceanside Museum of Art and the city of Encinitas.

The gallery within the community center allows art to reach public places.

“Art is important to life,” Barth said. “The more opportunities to intertwine them the better.”

The museum and city will both be holding numerous events throughout March honoring women and supporting services for women.

“One Woman’s Journey” will be on display through April 21, at the Encinitas Community Center Gallery, 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive.