Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Women Painting Women: (R)evolution

Posted by: Kate
This Friday, on September 20th, the "Women Painting Women: (R)evolution" show opens at Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.  So if you're around, make sure to hightail it to the opening sometime between 6:30 and 9pm.  It'll be a fancy occasion, so wear pants.

If I were a better person, I would do a comprehensive post about the history of the group and what we're all about.  But I'm just a middling sort of person, the kind who doesn't fold her laundry or drink eight glasses of water a day, so please take a look at the work that will be hanging here, and then wander over here to read more about tour background.
If you read through the information that the second link above takes you to, you'll see that the objectives of this show range from demarginalizing women artists, to exploring the female subject, to countering centuries of male gaze bias in western art.  There are as many objectives in this show as there are artists, because each of us has made the show her own and is particpating for her own reasons.  But for me it begins and ends with the exploration of my own personal gaze.

Personally, I participate each year because it means something to me to be part of this group.  Before I was invited to participate, I was isolated in my creativity.  I had Dave, but it takes more than one person to help you mentally place yourself.  But then I was invited to be in this show, and suddenly I had a dozen new friends, all of whom were ahead of me in their art careers, and each of whom carried a vivid awareness that they were female artists and that their careers had filled the negative space around this fact.  And what's more, for the first time I actually realized I was a woman painter.  I had never thought of it before.  It had never occurred to me that by being female I was part of a sorority, by dint of the fact that all of my paintings are inescapably tinted by the filter that is the female gaze.  And so it was that by being part of this group, I suddenly found myself standing on a starting point of self-discovery in my art.  I had been so focused on the easel in front of me that I had barely stopped to really think about the real source of my art--my own two eyes, and their unique biases, limitations, and insights.
When I was first invited to participate I refused.  I felt I was unqualified to be a representative of such an important and sophisticated theme.  I still feel that way.  But being part of the group has taught me a lot.  It has challenged me as an artist.  It has made me try to live up to the expectations of the group; as a result I have painted more and more paintings of women.  I'm searching for what makes my perspective of women, and the world, unique.

And for all of you who think that women don't have a unique gaze, I would like to close with a painting that was most definitely not painted by a woman.

1 comment:

  1. Love what you said, and appreciated the dual ass painting too…even though it was not done by you.

    And you are way too humble. Your paintings in the book totally rock this show…you are a force to be reckoned with.

    Not just blowing smoke up your ass either!