Skip to main content

A Round Table Discussion at NOW

Monday evening, I shared a roundtable discussion about being a woman artist with my colleague and friend Kaetlyn Wilcox, at the Boston offices of National Organization for Women. The discussion was open to the public, and we fielded questions from about 10 other people, women and men, about the trials and tribulations of the art profession.

Yes, I have certainly been influenced by feminism. No, my work is not overtly gender-related or political, but my interest in pattern, decoration, and intimate scale is clearly inspired by traditional feminine interests and some of the early feminist artists like Miriam Shapiro, Frieda Kahlo, Judy Chicago, etc. I came of age as an artist in the 70s, so could not help but be influenced by the exciting newness of women artists' work of that time.

I don't think of myself as a woman artist, just as an artist trying to keep making art despite it all. Is that a political act? Maybe so, in this day and age.

Comments

Deirdra McAfee said…
As far as the NOW panel, wish I'd been there for that one.

Although most of us do not make "women's art," our situation, and (still-low) status as women,
and women artists, inevitably conditions our materials, our subjects, our time and energy, our efforts.

For centuries, we have been art's subject, which means it's harder to find our own subjects, compelling subjects that belong in the long conversation of art: art history isn't our history, and neither is literary history.

Male artists still today have generally more money, training, time, and recognition than we. As well as having wives.

In this context, everything we make is political, if you take politics to mean not only originality but questioning convention. All artmaking is a political act, but ours doubly so, since we are still at least a generation behind in skill, resources, training, and
opportunities.

These are what shape a sensibility and offer an audience. They allow an artist to change the domain, and very, very few of us have been able to do that in proportion to how many of us there really are.

In addition, our personal circumstances, especially when we have children, mean that we make art how we can, where we can, and in what space and solitude we can secure—mostly outside any "school" or community, which often means that it goes unrecognized and unrewarded. Or is treated as a craft or a hobby.

For us, no ateliers or salons exist. And even if they did, we would still need men to advocate for us in the highest reaches of culture; they are still the gatekeepers there.

Think about all the men's clubs who have advanced each other's work and publicized each other's efforts, probably starting with the cave-
painters (unless, as I've heard rumored, they were women).

The New York School, the Surrealists, the Fauves, the Impressionists, etc., etc., etc. And for us? What school or incubator or community for women artists has there ever been? Even as a mother, I was better connected than I am as an artist.
Kaetlyn Wilcox said…
I love what Deirdra wrote, but in answer to her last question: there was Womanhouse in the 1970s. Yay Womanhouse!

Popular posts from this blog

A Show of Hands - the Fairy Tale Series is on view through July

The Fairy Tale Series is now on view at the Fort Point Artists Association Gallery at 300 Summer Street, Boston, MA until August 1. Thanks to curator and fellow artist, Catherine Carter for including my work in this four person show with Anthony Falcetta and Kristin KB Breiseth.

Adria's Lanesville Workshop - A Creative Retreat

Lured by the beauty of the north shore of Boston, I once again brought a group of students to Lanesville, MA for a week of artmaking. Nine lovely people joined me for some serious fun and exploration using mostly acrylics. As I work for Golden Paints, much of my teaching revolves around helping students understand the versatility of the medium and what all those different products actually can do for them.













Appetite - four day exhibit, report from the scenes

Appetite  - four day exhibition in Melrose, MA featuring my work and my friends Patti Brady and Catherine Bertulli.

Lisa Crossman, Ph.D., Curator - Fitchburg Art Museum, had this to say about Appetite  
Appetite begins with instinct and results in vibrant, playful excess. Catherine Bertulli hosts the artist-organized pop-up exhibit in her large studio in Melrose, MA. Each artist toys with the seduction of the surface such as the draw of bright colors. Bertulli’s monumental towers are impressive illusions, shimmering columns of gold, turquoise and other brilliant tints. They are eye-catching objects. Yet the aniline dyes are fugitive­­–presenting only impermanent effects–and they are hollow, only a shell of architecture. Adria Arch’s palette too confesses her interest in forcing the unexpected through experimentation–freezing a mark in time and then responding to it, and intuitively combining fields of color with shapes and patterns. Her paintings are pleasurable in their leg…