I had a lovely conversation with Brainard Carey about my work, recent shows, art school and what I am reading. Many thanks to Brainard for including me in his auditory catalog of artists, as I listen to his show, and have taken some advice here and there from his newsletter: Interview here.
Honored to be included at this exhibition at Wheaton College, curated by Elizabeth Keithline. On view, is something new, but I have thought about for a long time. I used lottery and scratch tickets, betting slips(all found) and transformed them into paper of several kinds, to represent the give and take of luck and life. There are two wall pieces, Is it rain or a chain? and Race to the top.
More HERE if you plan to go.
When I was asked to create a portrait of Senator Tammy Baldwin for In Her Hands, I researched her life, her work in the Senate and imagery from the state of Wisconsin. I wanted to make a panoply of imagery and words, in my usual style of threads and small parts to make a suit that gave an impression of strength.
In thinking about the construction, a few things were on my mind. The portraits of former President Obama and the First lady had been unveiled. I remember a bit of public disbelief at the contemporary portraits at first. In the President’s (by Kehinde Wiley), the ivy was confusing to some but it spoke to me right away. Men like the former President are here to stay and be counted… among the ivy. Ivy is a plant that digs in the cracks and can destroy buildings if left to over-run. I thought the imagery to say that people of color were pulling apart the old ways-make way for us, as we are staying and rebuilding the world.
The violet is the state flower of Wisconsin. Violets are not “shrinking” like the old adage. It has a lateral vine, and will take over a yard if left unchecked. It disrupts the suburban lawn and uproots grass. In LGBT history, violets were often given in the early part of the last century as a symbol of love and affiliation among lesbians, a secret code. The Senator is an openly gay person, and part of the LGBT community. Utilizing the flower as some imagery in the piece seemed appropriate.
The anniversary if the 19th Amendment is also coming up. Wisconsin was the first state to ratify the Amendment. I started to think about how the Senator–and really all of the candidates whose portraits are in the show–are the epitome of what these ladies fought for, starved for, went to prison for. I read about making embroidery from scraps to pass the time while incarcerated. I decided to embroider the Senator’s official portrait, and put it on a rosette pin, in the style of a Suffragette pin I had seen. The colors of that movement were purple, white and green–not unlike violets. The pin ruffles I made more “USA” red, white and blue with a background of the Suffragette colors.
For the suit, I started to think of a patch of violets more seriously and took pictures of violets in my neighborhood. Among the violets on the suit I have imagery of Suffragettes, several from Wisconsin. There are a lot of photographs of women protesting but no known names. I purposefully did not include anyone famous, as there were so many who fought without any public recognition. I have them looking out from the violets. Cascading down the jacket are pieces of legislation of the Senator. The pants are made up of close-ups of Suffragettes garb in prison, and violets coming from the bottom. A belt is made of violet postcards from 1890-1920. All of the imagery is die cut photographs, cut into ovals, a nod to scales or portraiture in its shape.
Overall, I want the impression of an armor of images. The portraits of women long past, edging the Senator forward as she is what they wished for. Women are here to stay in politics.
In Her Hands is up at Robert Mann Gallery until August 17 with many other portraits of progressive women candidates. Get out to vote!
Detail of Well-Suited Senator, a portrait of Senator Tammy Baldwin for “In Her Hands,” opening tomorrow night, from 6-8 PM at Robert Mann Gallery. This portrait is part of a suit made of several thousand images relating to the Suffragette movement, women of Wisconsin from this time and the words of the Senator. It is an armor of images, a celebration of those who have passed and wished for women running for office, brought it present through sheer will, and whom Senator Baldwin honors with her present efforts. On view will be portraits of progressive women candidates running for office this summer and fall, by fifteen women artists from across the country. Show runs through August 17th.
More about the work in the show and the candidates here.
June 14 – August 17, 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 14, 6 – 8pm
Please join me at the Robert Mann Gallery for In Her Hands, “a group show curated by Orly Cogan and Julie Peppito. This exhibition comes at a unique and timely period in history. Women in art and politics find themselves on parallel roads facing the urgent need to assert that we are all connected and embrace empowerment over traditional male systems of dominant power, where all humans regardless of gender, race or class will benefit. This exhibition will focus on combining craft materials, that define the powerful domestic history of feminine art forms, with portraits of progressive women candidates who are running in the 2018 elections, including Cynthia Nixon, Elizabeth Warren and Maxine Waters. Cogan and Peppito understand that “by curating a show that elevates women in art and politics, it asserts that women’s work, which has historically referred to undervalued activities like cooking, child care and sewing, are extremely valuable but are also only a part of what women’s work means today.” Conceptually the show inspires female artists to create work that highlights other women who are working to advance their communities, their country….” In Her Hands Press release
In Her Hands features work by Alice Beasley, Orly Cogan, Laurel Garcia Colvin, Maria De Los Angeles, Jane Waggoner Deschner, Susan Graham, Kate Kretz, Jess Larson, Diane Meyer, Marilyn Mcbrier Artus, Julie Peppito, Leisa Rich, Alicia Ross, Rebecca Siemering, Melissa Zexter
I am currently working on a handmade suit that is part ode to the Suffragettes, and a portrait for an exhibition this summer. More details to follow, but a few shots from the progress.