I years I have dedicated my life to art and avenues it paints. Currently, I am on count down and about to graduate Colorado State University with a B.F.A in Art (Painting), a minor in Art History, and a certificate in Women's Studies. I have focused my own art on women as well as my other studies.I would like to begin talking about Chicana Feminism. Chicana Feminism is rich with culture and art which has filtered into the theory they present. In La Conciencia De Le Mestiza: Towards A New Consciousness by Gloria Anzaldua she writes about the tricultural aspects of her people. Read this piece it is a great example of Chicana Feminism. Her however I would like to present Alma Lopez's Our Lady (Check out Artist Site: Alma Lopez). She is a digital artist born in Mexico and resident of L.A, California. This image was done in 1999 and showed in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2000. The showing of this piece caused huge controversy among the community: the Chicana curator received death threats, threats to the artist, town hall meetings, protests, news coverage, threats to the artist... The Virgin Mary is sexual (hetero-, bi-, homo-?), independent, confrontational, traditional, indigenous, contemporary, digital, produced by a Feminist-Lesbian-Chicana born in Mexico-Activist-Female Artist. Overtones of the multi-fascitted Chicana can be seen in this image. Lopez wanted this image to connect to the contemporary woman and so it does.
I thought perhaps I would go to grad school (still a possibility) and study goddess imagery in Art History or, perhaps, feminist art.
Feminism has ensured my career as an artist and art historian and I have a lot to know. Because of the efforts of Feminist Epistemology women have been written back into art history: the struggle continues. My hopes are that one day my name will be written in, but until then i need to give credit to the thoughts and work of those who are.
It dawned on me while on my flight back to the United States from Athens, Greece and reading Cunt by Inga Muscio that I wanted to go to grad school and study goddess imagery. I was having the same epiphanies as the women who realized that had a history years back. There was a history, My kind was in history. I wrote my first paper on The Virgin Mary in the Medieval period and her imagery connections to goddesses. This was the beginning of a collection of books and materials to form my ideas and understandings. I studied and wrote several papers on the goddess related to different subjects. And specifically imagery. I noticed the world riddled with triangles, women, goddess symbols, and so on...I wrote my capstone Art History paper on the archetypal vaginal imagery in Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party arguing that it was the imagery of the vagina that was causing explosive attention and why. For a Women's Studies Independent Study I contested the stereotypical connection between goddess imagery and feminism.
This is a commentary on feminism and the art that it concerns...
Muslim women are often times construed by western feminists as being oppressed without the adequate background to understand a Muslim's culture. And it is true one doesn't go into an intellectual situation without bringing their own turtle shell: that is to say, where they come from as a bias. In Marie-Aimee Helie- Lucus's The Preferential Symbol for Muslim Personal Laws she writes of how while the Muslim system s meant to benefit women the laws that are placed forth are more oppressive then benefitial. Her I would like to present to artist Ghada Amer from Cairo, Egypt. I know little compared to what I could about her. But I think it is interesting how her work is received in Britain versus Cairo where she is from. I believe I read in an interview that her father instilled in her a feminist path versus her mother. I think that interview stated her mentioning that her father encouraged her to go to school and get an education. Anyways, She began working with gender roles of women and moved to pornographic images of women to reclaim the female body. Some of her influences in her work include the reprinting of women in fashion magazines with veils to sell in a catalogue.
In Britain her work is received well while her work is not received with much gratitude in Cairo. The Muslim influence in Ciaro prevents fer work from being seen the way it is in Britain. Another reading that applies here is the piece by Inji Aflatun We Egyptian Women. (Check out Artist on Gallery Site: Ghada Amer)
The pinnacle of Wester Feminist Art is Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party. Produced in the 1970's and taking 5 years to produce this piece combines what is considered traditional women's craft as art and goes against the Western Art Canon that claims that productions of Painting and sculpture are High art and to be paid attention to. She is chided by Modernists for her Kitsch presentation but the piece serves justice. This piece continually gets chided by critics and the pubic for it vaginal imagery on the plates that are set at the table. An "Sexual Politics" exhibition at UCLA help in 1996 featured the piece in the context of Feminist art in order to understand where The Dinner Party came from. The chided Vaginal imagery is a product of its time. Female artists were looking for an image they could claim their own in the 1970's and came up with the Vagina. All images including the Female body had already been claimed by men and women needed something to counter-act. Something that they purely owned and men and patriarchy did not.
Now the piece has a permanent home (was in storage for years) at the Brooklyn Musuem as of last spring. (Check out the Site: Sackler Center)
Eco Feminisms connections to art also have deep connections with goddess imagery because the archetypal theory of The Goddess embodies the earth. In Adrienne Rich's Notes toward a Politics of Location qoutes Virginia Woolf in The Three Guineas, "as a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world." Though the artist Ana Mendieta did claim to have a country, Cuba, she called it her Mother country and produced work in connection to the earth as a connection to where she came from. She went into nature and and created her work only to be documented by photo and film and left to decay with the earth. (Check out a site: Ana Mendieta) The film created after her death is phenominal. (Ana Mendieta, Fuego de Tierra)
Pay attention to your fellow feminist artists:
She is a Fernch Artist who works with Gender roles of mother and Father and how they are combined.
Nancy Spero is an American Feminist artist who uses archaic imagery merged with contemporary images with a feminist message.
Any other artists people are interested in???