Monday, May 4, 2009

one more

One more part of "Through the Flower" I love (still marked in the book from last time I checked it out of the library).

“ Then, Mimi and I looked at work together, examining paintings and sculptures of women known and unknown, concentrating on those who had worked abstractly. From our experiences as artists, we both had an understanding of how to look for the hidden content in women’s work. What we discovered in our studies and later, in our studio visits overwhelmed me; and reinforced my own early perceptions. We found a frequent use of the central image, often a flower, or abstracted flower form, sometimes surrounded by folds or undulations, as in the structure of the vagina. We saw an abundance of sexual forms—breasts, buttocks, female organs. We felt sure that what we were seeing was a reflection of each woman’s need to explore her own identity, to assert her sense of her own sensuality, as we had both done. But ‘…the visual symbollogy…must not be seen in a simplistic sense as “vaginal art.” Rather…woman artists have used the central cavity which defines them as women as the framework for an imagery which allows for the complete reversal of the way in which women are seen in the culture. That is: to be a woman is to be an object of contempt and the vagina, stamp of femaleness, is despised. The woman artist, seeing herself as loathed, takes that very mark of her otherness and by asserting it as the hallmark of her iconography, establishes a vehicle by which to state the truth and beauty of her identity.’*

*Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, “Female Imagery,” Womanspace Journal, Vol. I, No. 3 (Summer 1973, pp. 11-14 “

Chicago, Judy Through the Flower: My Struggle as a Woman Artist. New York: Authors Choice Press, 1975, 2006 (143-144)

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