To further my knowledge on feminism and feminist artists, I studied and obtained a Masters in Art History focusing on artists and curating. While reading books, essays and artist statements of women, feminist, and underrepresented artists throughout the ages, I again not only recognized that my situation isn’t new, but the fact of my acknowledgement was also part of a cycle.
My realization, recognition, research and tribute to my situation, then other artists, then my yearning to honor them, seems to also continue in unfortunate waves of loss to HIStory. Perhaps that is changing with the internet and an ongoing field of specialists in feminist art history, African American history, and other experts focusing on underrepresented artists’ histories. But as I read and learned about women artists even from the last couple of decades and their experiences outside of class, I realized that they, too, wanted and attempted to read up and acknowledge women and underrepresented artists before them.
The multi-cycles presented me with a reflective new series of work to honor these artists, while also recognizing the cycle of erasure, all the while attempting to remember their contributions. So with my latest series, Mother Artists (Tributes), I created body prints evoking a camouflage color theme including leaf prints, which could reflect several people silenced or lost to history—in art and beyond. Onto the prints, I script quotes from feminist and women artists from past and present about their work, intent or gender issues, or titles of their works. I script the quote several times over and over in attempt to remember their names and contributions, to paint over and/or erase it when I’m finished. What is left is an erased effect, with some of the words and their names legible, but not quite. Though the titles hold onto the artist names, most of the text is lost in the image, reminiscent of the cycle of erasure not only potentially for the artist, but for my attempt to recognize them with my art.
As a white, middle-class artist, I also recognize a privilege beyond minorities, with which I too actively contemplate during my process, and hope an intersectionality is addressed via my selection of artists honored and the various-hued and ambiguous shapes; body and skin is perhaps ironically irrelevant in its relevance for me with this series.