This is an archive of the ArtCat Zine, 2007-2009. Please visit our new project, IDIOM.

Recently by Jen May

Art for Empty Walls

Sarah McKiel, "Gymnasts", 2007
Sarah McKiel, Gymnasts, 2006, Graphite, vellum, stitch work
on stationery. Courtesy of AFEW
Art For Empty Walls is an online gallery with a simple and refreshing mission: to provide an affordable and stress-free way for people to view and buy art. Selected artists exhibit online reproductions of their work, which is available for purchase through the site. The site layout is clean; the stark, white atmosphere mimics a “real life” galley, only less stuffy and, you know, unfriendly.

The gallery showcases new and emerging artists in monthly solo shows. The work featured on the site is primarily two-dimensional — including drawings, paintings, photography and embroidery. This December, the “Back Room Inventory” feature launches which will allow those interested to buy select pieces from past shows.

The current show on the site is by Canadian artist Sarah McKiel. The artist exhibits a series of mixed-media drawing depicting images of women and female sexuality via the representational lens of the media. The show includes pictures of a topless Anna Nicole Smith, Tara Reid with a breast falling out of her shirt, headless gymnasts, bikini car washers, and Jon Benet Ramsey. McKiel’s work consists of clean line drawings, frequently adorned with embroidery for emphasis. Her piece “Jon Benet” gives me the creeps. I can’t look at it with out thinking of a certain Julie Ruin lyric: “Jon Benet didn’t scream ‘cause she never fuckin was.”

Recently I was having lunch with five other young woman artists and designers. Over the course of our meal it was revealed that four of the six of us were medicated for anxiety, depression, or both. I’m pretty sure this isn’t a coincidence. So, when you can’t bring yourself to hike into Chelsea and look at boring art by some white dudes, you can log on to AFEW to view the current show and browse images of past shows. Also, you may actually be able to buy one of the pieces without breaking the bank! How cool is that?

FULL DISCLOSURE: I was lucky enough to be asked to do the November show on AFEW.