She Bends



Meryl Pataky (American, born 1983) with textile collaboration by Allie Felton. A Modern Guilt (installation view), 2020. Neon and mixed media; dimensions variable. Courtesy of artist. Photo by Deb Leal.


Exhibition Overview

She Bends is an organization dedicated to building a more equitable future for neon through public education, curatorial projects and artist programs that foster diversity and sustainability.

This exhibition explores how the evolution of teaching methodologies over the past two decades has affected neon as a process-driven fine art form.

Redefining Neon Legacy features artists of historically under-represented communities in neon alongside the women who taught them. 

Neon is a master-apprentice trade; those holding the knowledge control to whom it is passed. This exhibition tells the story of this evolution playing out in real time, as custodians of the neon craft become more intentional with how, and to whom, they pass their torches. The pedagogy of technical skills infused with material and conceptual investigations, authored by women educators, signals a paradigm shift in the neon pipeline that redefines its legacy. In this way, neon moves from an agent of capitalism to a conduit of expression for cultural identity and diverse narratives. The artists express their voices in luminous form and breathe life into meditations on identity, existence, memory, and healing.

This exhibition includes works by Sarah Blood, Carissa Grace, Kacie Lees, Stephanie Sara Lifshutz, Victoria Ahmadizadeh Melendez, Lily Reeves, Meryl Pataky, Daniella Thach, and Jude Abu Zaineh.

Learn more at and @shebendsneon.


Featured Images



  1. Carissa Grace (American, born 1997). Comforter, 2019. Argon, glass tubing, and transformers. 108 x 96 x 24 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Photo courtesy of the artist.

  2. Kacie Lees (American, born 1986). Neon Color Poster, 2021. Risograph print, edition of 150. 12 1/4 x 17 1/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

  3. Victoria Ahmadizadeh Melendez (American, born 1988). a quiet life, a couple of times over, 2021. Blown glass, argon, and mercury; 14 × 14 × 5 in. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Matthew Hollerbush.

  4. Jude Abu Zaineh (Palestinian-Canadian, born 1990). tend to grow (watermelons), detail, 2022. Varying glass tubes and gases, electrodes; Dimensions variable. Photo courtesy of the artist.


Curated and organized by She Bends. ( / @shebendsneon).