The bedrooms in Erin Fostel’s tenderly realist charcoal and pencil drawings are the antithesis of the minimalist chic trending in shelter magazines. Verdant with potted plants, draped in patterned fabrics, personalized with mementos and art, they appear entirely and unselfconsciously lived in. Indeed, most of the beds are deep in rumpled sheets, quilts and dented pillows, impressed by the forms of the women who sleep there each night. That’s the theme of Fostel’s series, chambers belonging to one woman only, and it was well reflected in the title of her spring exhibition at Baltimore City Hall, A Room of Her Own, with a nod to the iconic Virginia Woolf essay. Sadly, the show was shuttered due to the pandemic, a closure that feels symbolically related to the even sadder state of the current administration’s attitudes toward women. As Woolf argued back in 1929, women need their own space, both literally and figuratively. Too many today, in the U.S. and elsewhere, don’t even have the safety of a private bedroom for retreat.
—Lori Waxman 2020-10-23 10:48 AM