Feminism and Art


photo 1

Judy Chicago The Dinner Party 1979.
Mixed media 48′x42′X3′.
Triangular table on white tile floor.
Photograph by Donald Woodman (2010)
From Prebles’ Artforms , Tenth Edition
Patrick Frank
published by Prentice Hall

In the late 1960′s, many women artists began to speak out against the misogyny that always blocked them in their careers. It has always been difficult for women to be taken seriously. Our patriarchal society has always looked at what was produced by women as less than. For women artists it has been difficult to have their work shown in galleries, in artists’ groups. Galleries have been and continue to be more willing to accept the art made by men than by women. This has long been a problem for women artists and women in general. If a woman is entering a  jar of preserves or a pie in the county fair, fine. But real creation has been considered the product of men. Women in the 60′s were afraid to allow their art to reflect their problems producing artwork in the male dominated world.

In the early 70′s, feminist artists, in New York and California began to take action. They wanted the art world to be a more balanced world where their work wouldn’t languish in obscurity. Lucy Lippard, an art critic and feminist wrote, “The overwhelming fact remains that a woman’s experience in this society—social and biological—is simply not like that of a man. If art comes from the inside, as it must, then the art of men and women must be different, too.”

The work of some women artists is definitely influenced by their gender and their interests in feminist issues. The two groups worked differently. California feminists tended to work together in collaborations. They tended to make use of media that had  been used traditionally in “craft work” and with women: ceramics and textiles. The upper photograph, The Dinner Party, was a collaboration of many women and a few feminist men. Judy Chicago organized this work over a period of five years.

“A large triangular table contains place settings for thirty-nine women who made important contributions to world history. They run a wide gamut, from Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut to Georgia O’Keefe. The names of 999 additional women of achievement are inscribed on ceramic tiles below the tables. Each place setting includes a hand-embroidered fabric runner and a porcelain plate designed in honor of that woman. Some of the plates are painted with flat designs, others have modeled and painted relief motifs, many are explicitly sexual, embellished with flower-like female genitalia.” (Description from Prebles’ Artforms)

New York feminists were more pointed in their protests. Some of them formed the group Women Artists in Revolution (WAR), which picketed museums. In response to dealers who were reluctant to exhibiting female artists, they formed their own collaborative gallery, Artists in Residence (AIR). Nancy Spero, a leader in feminist circles on the East Coast participated in both groups. Her work used uncommon media such as paper scrolls, stencils and printing to document subjects such as the torture and abuse of women.

The bottom photograph is of a work by Nancy Spero. It is called the Rebirth of Venus. Venus is the ancient goddess of love. And in this art piece the goddess is split open to reveal a woman sprinter who runs directly towards the viewer. The contrast is strong, women as love object releases a woman who is strong and a achiever.

Women still have to fight for recognition in the art world. Women still have to fight for everything including equality. But women will never give up and go back to being subjected quietly by society. We will never be quiet again.

 
RebirthOfVenus
 
 
Nancy Spero Rebirth of Venus detail 1984
Handprinting on paper.  12″ x 62′
Photograph David Reynalds
From Prebles’ Artforms , Tenth Edition
Patrick Frank
Published by Prentice Hall

The Art of Bonsai


There is much beauty in the miniature of life. Not everything has to be bigger to be better. I hope you enjoy these miniatures and the art of shaping them and encouraging them to grow in the shape you with them to grow.

Tiny beauty

Tiny beauty

small forest

small forest

It takes a lot of time for a huge tree to learn to be this small

It takes a lot of time for a huge tree to learn to be this small

The skill in the fingers who work with Bonsai is awesome

The skill in the fingers who work with Bonsai is awesome

Such perfection!

Such perfection!

The tiniest plant I sawAll photography by Barbara Mattio. Copyrighted 2013

World Wide Commonalities


The art of music

The art of music

It has been a really painful week for many people in the world. Boston and Texas really have suffered great pain and loss.Our prayers continue for the victims and the families and friends, not to mention the survivors. After surviving any traumatic event, from the events of this last week to the unseen wounds of war, healing can take a lot of time, perseverance and gutsHorrors seen and experienced can leave terribly deep wounds.

I found my husband dead of a heart attack, sitting in the study with his feet propped up on the desk and a cup of coffee next to him. He had been there all day while I had been at work at the American Red Cross and had gone grocery shopping. It was dark and I turned on the desk lamp and found him. The diagnosis was a massive heart attack that I could not have stopped.

I had a diagnosis of PTSD and don’t like the dark to this day. The point is that no matter what your lifestyle is, pain and tragedy can find you. There is a wonderful book called, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” It was written by Rabbi Kuschner..

From my experience running a psych unit,  through my husband’s death and after being battered as a child, I have found a prescription of sorts for healing.

Beauty and our love for it is an inborn need and many artistic tastes are universal across the countries of the world. People in most countries prefer water and trees in the distance.From writing music to words, from singing your favorite songs to painting your first tulipwe have a need to express the art that resides in our souls. From looking at Degas sculptures to writing your first book, you are working from the instinct to produce what you relate to as Art.
Miriam, the Jewish Prophetess danced, sang and played the tambourine. KISS wears make-up and stick out their tongues and millions rocks to their music and its message for the soul.

Close your eyes and try to imagine a world where everything is utilitarian, political or for business. No music, dance, no sketching, painting, writing for pleasure, no moments of the day savored because of their beauty.Across the world people find many different things they consider art but it all performs to express the basic instinct. So today, work on healing with the creativity in your heart and soul.

The beauty of music

The beauty of music

Art evolution

Art evolution

A profile in color

A profile in color

Horse made from drift wood

Horse made from drift wood

To Find Your Artistic Voice


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The thing about creativity is that it is a gift that makes many of us artists Artistic life means we look at the world differently than some others do. We look at the same days in a week and we see very different experiences.Things just seem to feel, smell, look different to us. For writers, photographers, painters, designers, musicians and all other type of artists there is an extra special something. I don’t know anyone who can give it a name that fits all types of art, but it is as real as a sunrise or the North Star on a black, black night.

There is no greater glory than to work hard for what you love most. Even the seemingly ugly elements of nature are adorned with beauty. Be patient with those struggling to find their artistic voice.The artist who is frustrated and working hard doesn’t seem reasonable. If you find yourself in this place work on grace in your work.

As artists, we know that ultimately we will never fully understand all of the work we create. If we can’t understand it, there will be many who can tell in great detail what we were saying, but few of them even have a clue.

The more we use our artistic voice, the closer we become to artistic purity. What is pure for me as a painter or photographer may look like soot to someone else. But we know we have create purity. Even death cannot take it away from you. Don’t let obstacles interfere with your work. Raise your voice and let all of that purity out.

Bob Marley, musician and lover of human beings

Bob Marley, musician and lover of human beings

Love is important here. It seems to belong to every aspect of living. Love yourself first and others that share your life…that are part of your world. This love is what conquers;  that blankets your artistic voice. So love is like the right lens, mixing the right color, singing your best aria, writing your best, playing the best viola you can or playing the best guitar riff you can.  Exercise love and you will uncover your voice.

Wonderland

Wonderland

My best thought on artistic voice is to communicate. And keep communicating until someone begins to hear and see you and your work. At the point of life where you can identify what you believe, then you will evolve with every note, click of the camera, brush stroke, pen stroke, or song that fills the air. As you evolve, your artistic voice becomes stronger and louder and more self-fulfilling. So love yourself, create all you can and bring all of that positive beauty and magic into this world. Each time you create, you help to get rid of some of the negativity in the world..

The Three Stages of Women

The Three Stages of Women

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I encourage you to raise that voice, heal the obstacles and negativity and give the world a glimpse of what is possible.

Mellow Yellow Monday for Art and Artists


Vincent Van Gogh was one of the Impressionist artists. The book My Life and Love are One contains excerpts from his letters to his brother Theo. He and Theo were very close and Theo sold as many of Vincent’s paintings as possible. Van Gogh’s art was expressive and his writings were equally expressive. Whether he wrote about art, turmoil or love you can feel his inner passion. Sunflowers were one of his favorite things to paint. He was brilliant and suffered from depression. His art does give a voice to his suffering.

One day, the story goes, Vincent took his easel and paints to a meadow and began a painting and also committed suicide. Recently there has been controversy over the possibility that he may have been murdered. Whatever happened to Van Gogh, he left us with some very brilliant art and writings.

“Since the beginning of this love I have felt that unless I gave myself up to it entirely, without any restriction, with all my heart, there was no chance for me whatever, and even so my chance is slight. But what is it to me whether my chance is slight or great? I mean, must I consider this when I love? No, no reckoning; one loves because one loves. Then we keep our heads clear, and do not cloud our minds, nor do we hide our feelings, nor smother the fire and light, but simply say: Thank God, I love.

Now Where Did I Put That Artist


Oil Pastel by Barbara Mattio 2011

Here we are and where I live, it is the middle of the night. I worked on a painting earlier. At some point during my session I reached the zone. I believe it is an interesting place. It is where creativity and spirituality meet and become one.

“Paradise is at your own center
unless you find it there
there is no way to enter.
—-Anglus Silesius

The Buddha says, “We do not learn by experience, but by our capacity for experience.” The creative person has a capacity for experience. It is our ability to not just look at something, but to really see it. Is what we see exactly what we will paint, draw or sculpt? No probably not. There is a place within ourselves where the artist meets with the Divine. This is the place where the created and the creator blend. The blending of the two conditions is the place where we do not move our hands anymore to compose a song, write a novel, arrange flowers in a vase or paint what your soul experiences.

Due to economic restraints schools are reducing their art and music classes. Reading and math and science are totally necessary. What they don’t teach our children is not just to look but to really see..

Not seeing is becoming rampant is our culture.There are some who that when humans do not “really see” what they look at, Then they lose the ability to look at other humans and care about their sufferings or sorrows. They lose the ability for compassion.

When I draw a flower, it is not the little “I” or the ego which is expressing itself, it is the flower that is being able to express itself.When the creativity inside meets with The One, then we are really one with the Universe. We are part of the Creative Process which unfolds continually in Nature.No matter what your medium is, you become part of the cosmic consciousness. The eyes really see and the hand moves and we are in a state of grace. Here we stop looking at and begin firsthand seeing. At this moment, you find the artist you are looking for.

Angelus Silesius wrote the first Western haiku.
“The rose is without why
it blossoms because it blossoms.”

So exactly what am I attempting to say? I am saying that for creative/artistic people there is a point when their medium becomes meditation. It is actually meditation in motion. The hand and eye work in tandem. Quiet and solitude are not the place where art and meditation meet. So if you haven’t seen the artist within for awhile,simply start living the “artist within.” Peace will descend and your work will pour out of your hands. M.C. Escher did a plate of his hands and it is my favorite. The amazing energy which flows from his drawing makes you know you are standing in the presence of Divinity.

Just be yourself, the unique and creative person that was created out of star dust and allow the creativity to flow out of your soul and into your work.

Artistic Voice


Charcoal sketch by Barbara Mattio

We are creative by nature, not choice. Creativity seeks us out. This must just be accepted. Finding your artistic voice can be like trying to move a boulder. Slow progress and time may pass before you may see measurable progress.

An artist needs balance in his/her life. The myth that artist must suffer is just that a myth. So don’t invest in the myth. Don’t force your creativity into a square others think it should be in. There is no reason to create drama or hardship to fuel your talents. Life will provide plenty itself.

Don’t try to force your talent and work to grow as an artist without concern with where the art is taking you. This is true for all mediums, including music, acting, performance art or sculpting.

What the artistic person creates is a representation of your subconsciousness. Don’t get bogged down with past failures, or a creative block. This will stop you from living in the present moment and enjoying the beauty of the day.

You can’t be your own critic and need to silence your doubts. I realize that that is a constant struggle. This is a huge block to finding your artistic voice.

When you are working and in the zone and the creativity is just streaming and uninhibited, you are releasing your creative voice. You approach artistic purity when your work is absent of everyday concerns. You have given yourself over to the flow of the subconscious mind. The great Masters worked from this place within themselves. Remember, anything is attainable and never limit yourself. Art is communication and you are creating that conversation.

Mellow Yellow Monday #2


It is Monday again. It always confuses me how quickly that happens! So it is here once again and I want to talk about art. There are many people who believe, and I agree, that the love of beauty is inborn. Landscapes are more popular than graffiti. Harmonious music is enjoyed more than discordant music.

Whether we look at pottery, writing, performance art, or music composition. Many feel that human traits are evolutionary and cross cultural lines. Scientists feel that tastes in art are shaped by natural selection.

I feel the love of beauty is inborn. Artistic values restore pleasure, beauty and skill back to a prominent place in our culture. The arts are no more remote from the evolved features of the human mind and personality than a magnolia tree is remote from the soil.

The tendency is to treat any form of art as secondary and essentially fluff. That is so far from the truth. The human soul needs beauty and beauty is as essential to the soul as oxygen is to our lungs. Creativity is a bridge between cultures and stimulates the brain so learning is increased.

Creativity is a way to discover your authentic self and to express that self by composing, dancing, acting, throwing a pot or painting a landscape. The creative soul is tied to the Divinity within. People often recognize this and some don’t. What they create still brings a message to those who see the end product be it a play, a symphony, a pastel drawing, an amazing garden or a smashing novel. Without the creative urge, we become diminished as humans and we don’t experience all of the life we have been gifted with. Creativity, of any kind, helps us to be more fully alive and to more fully embrace this plane of existence. Don’t hesitate, listen to your heart and soul and create what is inborn within you and be at one with the Universe.