It could have been in storage; A mixed media canvas, propped on the workbench, waiting to be put away before I opened up for Noosa Open Studios. But two of my Marcus Artisan buddies called by and persuaded me to put it on display. Thanks to Julie and Kris, this work got a showing.
I was pleased as a surprising number of people during Open Studios found it intriguing and seemed drawn to it.
Though it is completely abstract, some viewers discovered animals in the forms. I see the heads of the animals on the Australian coat of arms – emus and kangaroos kissing.
“If necessity is the Mother of Invention, then adversity must surely be the Father of Re-invention.” Johnny Flora
What to do: continue on with other work, or do an “as if” three week at home residency on the My Mother project? I don’t have an exhibition space for the pieces, let alone rafters at home to hang my two-sided panels, so a re-think is in order. In my mind, a virtual on-line exhibition slowly evolves. My Mother, and artistic journey re-invented.
I first heard of Judy Chicago at University when I did a course on feminism. The Dinner Party, her conceptual art piece was done in the 70’s. She was the first person to teach a college feminist art course and was definitely up there with the so-called second wave feminists such as Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.
The Harwood Museum of Art in Taos currently has an exhibition of more than a dozen of the works from Chicago’s Birth Project. This project, five years in the making (1980-85), was a collaboration between Chicago, the designer, and 150 women to produce nearly 100 works using thread and fabric.
The works are beautiful and utterly female. Chicago documents both the history of birthing practice in the USA and the process of making the art, together with the thoughts and impact the project had on the women with whom she collaborated.
Chicago chose not to have children herself. Nonetheless she seems to have immersed herself in birth and other women’s experience of it. She was definitely ahead of her times in honouring the place that fabric, thread and creativity have in the history of womankind and giving it a place in the world of art.