The Arts Council of Southeast Missouri will host local artist Jean Rissover at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, for an open moderated conversation on her exhibition Distaff: The Lives of Women, currently on display at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri.
Rissover began her painting career in 2011 at age 70, after careers in teaching, social work, and journalism [including a stint as managing editor of the Herald]. It was her first real effort to create art since her senior year at a high school in suburban St. Louis. Since 2011, she had opportunities to be instructed by notable regional artists and has won several awards.
Rissover’s work is also on display at •E•KleK•Tix, her studio and gallery located on North Main Street in Ste. Genevieve’s historic downtown. Most of her paintings portray the everyday lives of women — their activities, experiences, relationships, joys, sorrows, and moods. Each is unique, and at the same time, represents a component of “the feminine.” The artist’s intended message is simple: Women’s lives are diverse, rich and complex. Most important, the lives of all women are worthy of attention.
On the title of her exhibition, Rissover states, “It’s a bit tongue in cheek. Actually, a ‘distaff’ is a wooden stick used in spinning, an art that was almost entirely the purview of women and so closely identified with their role that it became, and remains, a word descriptive of our entire sex as other and apart from the male.
“While our collective, everyday experience as women is the central theme of my art, I hope that idea stands alongside an understanding that as much as society would define us by our roles (or the roles denied to us), it is our individual courage and experience that determines who we really are. And when it comes to being ‘distaff,’ all of us, young women, girls, matrons, and old ladies like me, are much, much more than that.”
The Arts Council of Southeast Missouri is located at 16B North Spanish Street in Cape Girardeau.
Galleries are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
(Information in a news release from the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri.)