The Pre-Vinylette Society: An International Showcase of Women Sign Painters

Opening Friday, September 8th, 2017 at the Chicago Art Department  

Curated by Meredith Kasabian of Best Dressed Signs and Shelby Rodeffer of Finer Signs

Curatorial Statement

On behalf of the Pre-Vinylite Society, we are proud to present a group art show celebrating the work of more than 50 women sign painters from 9 countries around the world! This show, the first sign painting exhibition to feature women only, will display the talent of an international array of female sign painters with a wide range of experience and skill level. With the current political climate in the United States and beyond, this exhibition offers a vital feminist statement that pushes back against the common belief that the trade of sign painting, like many skilled trades, is the domain of men alone.

The Pre-Vinylette Society’s International Showcase of Women Sign Painters will feature text-based works in enamel and gold leaf on wood, metal, or glass. It will also include a companion catalogue with a brief essay chronicling the historical and cultural context of women in trade and short interviews with each of the artists. As a way to engage with the viewers on multiple platforms, we will also host a panel discussion/audience Q&A with the curators and select artists on September 9th at the gallery.

The name of our show—the Pre-Vinylette Society—is a tongue-in-cheek re-appropriation of the grammatical “ette” suffix, which typically denotes a female or smaller version of a male or more substantial (read: better) thing. As language is at the forefront of sign making, this show allows for more female voices to be heard than most historical and even recent surveys of the trade have acknowledged. By reappropriating the “ette” formation, the women of the Pre-Vinylite Society are asserting their rightful place in the long tradition of sign painting and the lettering arts.