Sacred Yoni Show!

Twelve years ago, while participating in an art workshop together, Neahkahnie artists Lane deMoll and Kathleen Ryan discussed presenting an erotica show in a local venue.

Both were creating their own feminine-based art and noticing similar work by other area artists. “I remember a marble piece that (Nehalem sculptor) M.J. Anderson did, which was called a ‘Sheela Na Gig,’” said Ryan. “They were traditionally used on Irish churches as fertility symbols centuries ago.”

“But we’ve always gotten hung up on a place to do it, not to mention being tied up with other ‘busyness’ we were up to,” said deMoll, whose local accomplishments include co-founding Manzanita’s CARTM with Ryan, being one of several founders of Fire Mountain School in Falcon Cove as well as the Lower Nehalem Community Trust. In addition to co-founding CARTM, Ryan is treasurer on the Tillamook County Arts Network Board of Directors, was a founding member of the Hoffman Center Board of Directors, served for many years as chair of the Tillamook County Solid Waste Advisory Committee and was behind the popular Live With It expositions held for a number of years at her Green Arts Collective studio in the Nehalem area.

A few years later deMoll and local artist and massage therapist Dana Zia began envisioning a “yoni show,” said deMoll, explaining that she, as well as many other women, prefer the term “yoni” to vagina. Sanscrit for “sacred space,” the word yoni is, in Hinduism, a sign of generative power that symbolizes the goddess Shakti. “I use it myself because it implies to me a much more sacred connection to this most feminine aspect of my body,” added deMoll.

This summer, “the time just seems right,” said deMoll. She and a host of other Tillamook County artists are joining to produce The Sacred Yoni Show, scheduled for Aug. 9 through Sept. 9. Rocky Intertidal CoCreative, a local public relations and marketing firm, offered its office – which includes gallery space – for the show, “I have some new yoni paintings and it’s 2012,” deMoll continued, noting that in Mayan prophecy the year 2012 marks the “reawakening of the universal feminine consciousness.”

From prehistoric petro glyphs to Georgia O’Keeffe’s famous paintings of flowers, to Judy Chicago’s modern installation artwork The Dinner Party, artistic renderings of the yoni aren’t new, said deMoll. “It is one of the oldest of prehistoric artistic depictions.”

The Sacred Yoni Show will include paintings, sculpture, jewelry, quilts and fabric installations. Artists whose work will appear include deMoll, Ryan, Zia, Tom Bender, Aina Tonjes, Dawn Shears, Chris Shears, Glenna Gray, Nicole Poole, Sylvia Thornton and M.J. Anderson.

“We felt the concept of the show, the emphasis on creative energy in particular, worked well with what we do,” said Kelly Benson, who co-owns Rocky Intertidal CoCreative with LeeAnn Neal. The two have known deMoll and Ryan, as well as many other of the participating artists, for a number of years. “It’s a really impressive lineup.”

“Lane somewhat casually told us about the concept for the show during this year’s Trash Art Show opening July 5 in Manzanita,” said Neal. “Some of the artists who were there that night jumped on board immediately, while others took a minute to think it over. It was interesting to see people’s expressions change from a little bewildered to intrigued to kind of charged up.”

An opening is scheduled for 6:30-9 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 9 at 35850 Highway 101 in Nehalem. The show will continue to be available to view, free of charge, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 7 p.m. through Sept. 9.

For more information, contact rockyintertidalcocreative@gmail.com. or check out Sacred Yoni Show on Facebook.