There's More Here - Senior Exhibition April 25th 2019
This collection of works began while studying Women’s Art History under the guidance of Dr. De Armendi at Converse College. I was shocked by the number of women, who despite their incredible work and contributions to the arts, were not part of mainstream art vocabulary. Why is it that I, as a woman artist, am now discovering these women for myself? It has since become my passion to study everything about these artists of strength, dignity, and resilience who’s talents, in my opinion, in several cases, far out weight those of their male counterparts. As I considered these women and their contributions, I felt so inspired by them and furthermore thankful, so so thankful. I feel thankful because not only am I free and encouraged to pursue a career in art professionally, but I am able to do so with much less social stipulation or expectations telling me my “proper” place in society as a woman.
I have selected some of my favorite artists from the past and created works to celebrate their life and their legacy. Some of them gained recognition during their lifetimes, whereas several died before they were appropriately “discovered”. Some of them thrived artistically during their time on this earth, others spent tireless hours struggling to scrape by, but nonetheless each has a story. A story that I found worthy of a celebration. So in celebration of concluding this chapter of collegiate studies in my life and in joyous salute to these women, I have decided to throw a party. Welcome to the party!
There are alot of things I could say about this collection of works. It’s almost a bit intimidating to think about starting to unravel all of the feelings and thoughts about the incredible group of women artists that I tasked myself with representing through paintings, But here goes nothing.
Women are badasses. It's true. I’m not even kidding you, not one bit. Alot of this collection, for me, had to do with just that. A real and honest celebration of the legacies of women who rocked the art world before girls were “allowed’ to be artists. Before It was cool to thing to be exactly what and who you desired to be, before women could vote, and before they were encouraged to speak for themselves. These women where trailblazers, mothers, teachers, smokers, serious vehicular accident survivors, and so so so much more.
So why did I choose this topic for my Senior Exhibition? Well, let me explain it like this. Once you start learning about crazy cool people like Helen Frankenthaler and Lee Krasner, you kinda get hooked. You study thier work and then learn about there husbands abussive nature thier childrens names and then you learn about what they did to make waves within the art communiy. You learn about techniques they invented and also about the charming witt these women navigated through life with. You learn about thier delightfully bold sense of entitlement and thier courage and the way thier male counterparts ripped off thier ideas. You giggle as you read about the creative ways they fought back. You learn about people who shit talked thier work and how they handled the criticisms gracefully (and some not so gracefully).
Somewhere along this journey of research, in a way, you fall in love with these people, with these women, with thier personalities, with thier stories. You fall in love with thier hillarious hair styles and the photos of them holding onto paintbrushes as though they were thier most valued possessions.
I fell in love with the artists who made it possibile and attainable for me to grow up to be an artist- the women who were riduculed and punished for thier dreams. The ones who worked so that the road to becoming a women artist would no longer be dirt, but rather paved with the blood sweat and tears of persistent, bold and badass women who were passionate enough about creating work that they threw the middle finger to societal expectation and did the damn thing.
This collection of works was created as a celebration of the spirit of resilience in all women and as a benchmark to celebrate my next steps as I enter the art world on my own. As a young girl, I always dreamed of being an artist- and now the time has come for me to leap into my place in this world.
One of my proffessors wrote in my final critique this last semester a statement which I think rings true in many fields, not just art-
“Do not settle for the common place as you have done the due dlligence to command an extraordinary standing in the art universe.”
So I will then leave you with this. As you go on your way, remeber to fall in love with the aspects of the human experience and human resillience that inspire you. Remeber to always work hard and to spend time learning about people in history who matter. Remeber you are strong and smart and capable. But most of all remeber that you are worthy of commanding the extraordinary.