Women’s difficult stories honored

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I work with words in my art – memories, stories, and history. So when the Northern California Women’s Caucus for Art Exhibition curator for the “Choice Exhibition” asked me if I wanted to work on displaying the letters, I said, “Yes!”

These were not just any letters. They were written by women describing their abortion experiences – charged, powerful, emotional, factual, empowered, sad, grateful stories. Women from twenty to eighty-something and from all over the country submitted their writing to the exhibition website.

My goal was to honor these women and their stories visually and to invite gallery visitors to read them.  The colors came to mind immediately. I selected blue for its symbolism to water, emotions, the throat and communications. Violet and purple was picked for its connection to the seventh chakra, about peace and wisdom.

Each letter was read, formatted on the computer for fonts, margins, and type size. Some blue and purple color was added to each page, along with matte medium to strengthen the paper front and back. Then each page was punched top and bottom. Eyelets were added to reinforce their hanging connection using a papaya colored string. Longer letter pages were tied with gray string.

The metal stainless steel ring that supported the letter strands was purchased at Alan Steel. It had to be hack sawed and attached to create the circle.

I felt connected to each woman’s story. When I hung the test run in the outer room of my studio, a breeze came through and danced with the stories. The letters felt alive and released in the wind. A one point I stood in the middle of the hanging pages and the strength and emotions of the stories was very intense.

I deemed the installation a success as I watched women and men interacting with it and reading the stories.

At the last moment I decided to include a stool and a basket of blank paper with an invitation to viewers to write their own stories. I was surprised to hear that on the night of the opening reception, a brave young woman sat in the circle and wrote her story.

A big thank you to NCWCA members Judy Johnson-Williams and Susana van Bezooijen for working the installation too.

This installation is part of the Northern California Women’s Caucus for Art Choice Exhibition curated by Kelly Hammargren. The show is about women’s reproductive rights and is at Arc Gallery in San Francisco. For more details on the exhibition click here.

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A romantic Christmas story

Not only is it Christmas, but also my parents 54th wedding anniversary. Every year red roses from my father filled the house with sweetness. 

My mom said she rode the NYC subway in her white short dress on a cold Christmas morning to wed my father in a church. A couple of friends were present as witnesses. She had only known him for 3 weeks.

They left for Iowa the next day. It the only place my father could get a job in television and he wasn’t leaving without her. 

What brave romantic souls! 

We remember you mom. 

Women, Art, Politics show closing June 29

Judy Johnson-Williams and I went to the opening of this show back in March, and it is weird but I haven’t talk to one other woman who has seen it – SO GO IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT! It is a great show with some very provocative installations.

Organized by Yerba Buena Center of the Arts (YBCA), The Way That We Rhyme: Women, Art & Politics showcases the politically charged work of a new generation of women. Emphasizing performativity, collaboration and coalition building, the works are influenced by the feminist ideologies and activist movements of the past, while also speaking loudly and clearly to the issues facing women right now.

Here are some photos I took on the opening night.

MK Guth’s Interactive Weaving Performance was loosely based on the fairytale character Rapunzel, whose braids act as a metaphor of entrapment and as a vehicle for escape. Groups of women braided and extended MK Guth’s hair and visitors were invited to write a comment on a white ribbon that were woven into the braid. With each new ribbon, the braid grew, creating new branches and configurations. At the end of the day, the braids were cut off her body and hung in the main gallery. MK had a special dress made to tie the braids to and supported the weight, over 100 pounds!

Swoon – one of my favorite artists, who uses cut out paper and applies it
often in public locations a la graffiti. Here she investigated the murders
of hundreds of women in Juarez, Mexico, and created an installation
featuring a portrait of one of the victims

war facts sweater

Artists include: Lisa Anne Auerbach, Andrea Bowers, Nao Bustamante, Tammy Rae Carland, Vaginal Davis, Eve Fowler with Math Bass, Deborah Grant, MK Guth, Taraneh Hemami, Miranda July and Shauna McGarry, LTTR, Leslie Labowitz and Suzanne Lacy, Aleksandra Mir, Laurel Nakadate, Shinique Smith, subRosa, SWOON and Tennessee Jane Watson, The Counterfeit Crochet Project organized by Stephanie Syjuco, The Toxic Titties, Jessica Tully, and RiotGrrl zines from the Independent Publishing Resource Center, Portland.

The Way That We Rhyme: Women, Art, & Politics

To see photos I took at the show (which closes June 29, by the way) click here.

I am really looking forward to the opening and exhibit of this important show.

Organized by Yerba Buena Center of the Arts (YBCA), The Way That We Rhyme showcases the politically charged work of a new generation of women. Emphasizing performativity, collaboration and coalition building, the works are influenced by the feminist ideologies and activist movements of the past, while also speaking loudly and clearly to the issues facing women right now.

Artists include: Lisa Anne Auerbach, Andrea Bowers, Nao Bustamante, Tammy Rae Carland, Vaginal Davis, Eve Fowler with Math Bass, Deborah Grant, MK Guth, Taraneh Hemami, Miranda July and Shauna McGarry, LTTR, Leslie Labowitz and Suzanne Lacy, Aleksandra Mir, Laurel Nakadate, Shinique Smith, subRosa, SWOON and Tennessee Jane Watson, The Counterfeit Crochet Project organized by Stephanie Syjuco, The Toxic Titties, Jessica Tully, and RiotGrrl zines from the Independent Publishing Resource Center, Portland.

laurel-nakadate.jpg

OPENING NIGHT PARTY
Fri, Mar 28 • 8—11 pm
Grand Lobby, Galleries & Screening Room
$12 in advance, $15 at the door
FREE for YBCA Members and a guest
Celebrate the opening with cash bars, bands Brilliant Colors and The Sarees, DJ Jenny Hoyston (of Erase Errata), performances by Toxic Titties and comedy-disaster-performance vehicle Dynasty Handbag among others, interactive projects by MK Guth, Subrosa and Stephanie Syjuco, and a special film screening curated by Ariella Ben-Dov. Don’t miss another great party!

Dream spa…

I had a dream last night that my mother had an incredible bathroom. It was more like a wonderful spa with many claw foot bathtubs, steam rooms, hot tubs, showers. The whole place was very misty. When I looked closer, it wasn’t very clean – needed some tidying up. I thought, ” I should have a big party for all my women friends here for a spa, loungy, luxurious afternoon!”