Fall 2011 Gallery Guide - Miami University School of Fine Arts

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Fall 2011 Gallery Guide - Miami University School of Fine Arts

Out of the ShadowsThe Rise ofWomen in ArtPART IFall 2011 Gallery Guide


The art museum is accredited by theAmerican Association of Museums.Cover Image:Allan Ramsay (Scottish, 1713-1784)Portrait of a Lady, late 18th centuryOil on canvas; 28 1/4” x 23 1/2”Gift of Mrs. William Hiestand in memory ofHarvey H. Hiestand1956.P.1.5Out of theShadowsThe Rise ofWomen in ArtPART IMiami University Art Museum801 South Patterson AvenueOxford, OH 45056General Information:(513) 529-2232artmuseum@muohio.eduWebsite:http://www.muohio.edu/artmuseumMuseum Gallery Hours:Tuesday - Friday 10 am - 5 pmSaturday 12 pm - 5 pmSunday - Monday CLOSEDConstruction of the Miami University ArtMuseum in 1978 was made possible byprivate contributions to Miami University’sGoals for Enrichment capital campaign inthe mid-1970s. A major gift for the buildingcame as a bequest from Miami alumnus FredC. Yager, class of 1914. Walter Netsch, themuseum’s architect, Walter I. Farmer, classof 1935, and Orpha B. Webster generouslydonated extensive art collections and wereinstrumental in developing early support forthe museum.Art Museum Staff:Robert S. Wicks, Ph.D., DirectorJason E. Shaiman, Curator of ExhibitionsCynthia Collins, Curator of EducationLaura Henderson, Collections Mgr/RegistrarMark DeGennaro, PreparatorKelly Wilson, Audience DevelopmentSue Gambrell, Program CoordinatorDebbie Caudill, Program Assistant/SecurityScott Kissell, PhotographerJamie Brenner, Curatorial InternRachel Satterfield, Curatorial Intern2Women in art is not a uniquesubject for museum and galleryexhibitions. Popular presentationsspotlighting women in paintings,prints, drawings and sculpture,created by men and women, havegraced the walls of major museumsthroughout the world. Someexhibitions have featured womenartists through a topical approachand some within a specific periodof time. Out of the Shadows:The Rise of Women in Art blendsthese themes while looking at thelarger picture of women and artthroughout the history of a maledominatedart world. Attention isalso given to a number of femaleartists who made significant stridestowards equality in the arts andothers who pushed the limits ofgender, social and political bias tosucceed as professional artists.Out of the Shadows is divided intotwo segments. Part I, currently ondisplay, is designed to introducevisitors to the history of women inart while exploring the manycontributions women artistsmade to portraiture, nature andabstraction in art. Part II, ondisplay during the Spring semesterin 2012, will present viewers witha look at the impact of women inthe development of decorative arts,textiles and photography. Not untilthe mid-20th century did arthistorians begin to assess theartistic contributions of femaleartists.Although several highly acclaimedwomen in the 17th, 18th and19th centuries were recognizedDixie Selden in Her Studio, 1913PhotographCourtesy of the Goldman Archives


academies. However, it was notuntil the 1960s that women beganto study the nude model. Althoughthis was a great accomplishmentfor young artists in training tolearn figure drawing, for theestablished artist pursuingabstraction it was almost too late.In addition, it was not until the1970s that women artists wereseriously discussed in art historyclasses.Frank Duveneck’s art class, Art Academy of Cincinnati, Ohioca. 1891PhotographCourtesy of the Goldman Archivesliberal-mindedness of certainQueen City artists, such as FrankDuveneck and Benn Pittman,women learned the art of paintingand woodcarving.The late 19th century art market inEurope saw significant changes.Young risk-taking artists attemptedto uproot the firm grip of formalismtaught within the academies. Theearly 20th century proved to be themost pivotal time for the rise ofwomen in art.Within a short period of timeradical developments in the UnitedStates would shake the foundationsof the art world. In 1913, theArmory Show in New York Cityexposed Americans to modernismin art. This new and provocativeexhibition of avant-garde artprovided an opportunity for femaleartists in the United States andEurope to display their workalongside that of male artists. Theshow also illustrated how liberalthe European art world wascompared to the United States.Seven years later, another eventshook the established politicalorder in America. In August of1920, women successfully foughtfor their rights with the passing ofthe 19th Amendment. Although theamendment specifically gavewomen the right to vote, it openedthe floodgates for other civilliberties. These two events gavewomen the confidence to push theboundaries of their limited accessto the arts.Women were increasing theirinvolvement in the arts as bothcreators and patrons. By mid-20thcentury, more women entered artschools and more women turned toteaching. Abstract art gave womenthe freedom to explore diversesubjects without the traditional andrestricted instruction of theAlthough the current art worldremains male dominated, womenhave greatly increased in numbersand have leveled the playing field.Today, female artists are engagedand even leading the wayin many advancements includingtechnology based arts. It hasbeen a long and winding road forwomen in art, one filled withtrials and tribulations, andsetbacks and successes. Due toperseverance, women stepped outof the shadows and have risen toprominence in the arts for boththeir talents and their contributions.Barbara Przyluska (Polish, b. 1958)Judith, 2003Oil on canvas; 48” x 41”Collection of Piotr and Judith Chomczynski4


From Subject to CreatorCarved from a single piece oflimestone almost 25,000 years ago,the Venus of Willendorf measuresonly 4 1/2 inches high. She is asquat and rotund nude figure withpronounced breasts and pudenda.She has no face, as her head is asimple sphere with rows of dimpledmarks, perhaps representing hair.No one knows the name of thewoman the sculpture represents,who created her, exactly whenshe was made, or what purposeshe served. Yet, she is one of themost iconic objects in art history, iscovered in nearly every universitylevel art history survey course, andis found in most general books ofart history.Venus of Willendorf, 24,000 – 22,000 BCEOolitic limestoneNaturhistorisches Museum, Vienna, AustriaUnfortunately, this is the case formost early representations ofwomen in art. Since her discoveryin 1908 in a Paleolithic site locatedin the southern region of Austria,historians, anthropologists andarchaeologists have speculatedthe complex meaning behind thefamed figure. The consensusis that the Venus of Willendorfis an idol, a fertility figure, anda representation of a pregnantwoman that symbolizes the role ofwomen in society. Through thisunderstanding, it can be assumedthat even in the earliest years ofartistic expression women wereviewed in generalized terms andoften as mere objects. However,for the creator of the piece,someone or a group of womenmust have served as the inspiration.Additionally, there is no indicationif a man or a woman carved her.In some cultures, women werehighly recognized as members ofsociety and as a result were oftenrepresented in art. For example, a1930s archaeological excavationin ancient Mesopotamia (modernIraq) unearthed a small group offemale statuettes dating 2750-2600BCE. These clothed votive figureswere found within an assemblageof 12 figures, including men,located in Eshnunna (modernTell Asmar), near Bagdad. Mostimportant about this find is thenew understanding that thesefemale worship figures stoodalongside men at the time, denotingsignificant status for women insociety.Standing female figure, ca. 1900-1750 BCENorth SyriaTerracotta; 6 11/16” x 2 1/4” x 1”Gift of Walter I. Farmer1978.S.2.25In contrast, the primary images ofwomen during the Pre-Dynasticand Pharaonic ages of Egypt wereportraits of queens, wives and thedaughters of kings and pharaohs.Additional images of womencan be found in frescos andpapyrus paintings of ceremoniesand ritual offerings. Althoughfrequently represented, women aretraditionally depicted smaller thanthe king or pharaoh to denote ahierarchical scale, and with lighterskin tones. This representationremained consistent until the mid-14th century BCE during the Telel-Amarna period under the reignof Pharaoh Akhenaton and hisroyal wife Nefertiti. Akhenatonimplemented many reformsincluding artistic representationsthat resulted in improved figural5


depictions. Important to thecontext of women is a greaterprominence for the queen, placingher on an almost even scale withher husband in works of art.Other historical periods gavesignificant attention to womenin art, yet little informationremains about the identities of theartists. Artists from the pre-GreekCycladic Islands produced moreimages of women in marble thanof men. In addition, these worksare on the same scale as men, ifnot larger, and are typically nudefigures. As the formal Greekworld developed, representationsof women continued on a largerscale comparable to men, but arenow clothed. From the 7th throughthe 2nd century BCE, womenwere represented in sculpture,mosaics and pottery. It is not until4th century BCE that the femalefigure is more commonly depictedin the nude, as seen in Praxiteles’Aphrodite of Knidos.Not until ancient Greece doesinformation regarding womenartists become available. Inthe 8th century BCE, the Greekwriter Homer mentions women ascreators of textiles, as does Virgilin the 1st century BCE when hedescribes women as excellingin the art of lanifica, workingwool. Unfortunately, no specificnames were recorded. However,the Roman author Pliny the Elderprovided historians with the namesof known female Greek painters, ofwhom the most notable are Helenaof Egypt, Kora, Eirene, Timarete,Anaxandra and Iaia. Pliny explainsthat Iaia painted portraiture andoften commanded higher pricesfor her wares than some of herRomanianMadonna with Crucifixion and Saints, mid-19th centuryReverse painting on glass; 18” x 15 3/4”Gift of Elma Pratt1968.P.1.1male counterparts. In addition,some women including PlanciaMagna are recognized as importantbenefactors of the arts.The Medieval world of Europe sawa greater involvement in the artsby women as a result of a growthin convents. The Virgin Mary anda host of female saints in Christiandoctrine were represented duringthe Middle Ages in sculpturalform, but more prominently inmanuscripts. Convent scriptoria(rooms devoted to the writingof manuscripts) provided nunswith the opportunity to promotefaith through artistic endeavorsin conjunction with liturgicaldevotion. Some of the mostnotable manuscripts written andembellished by women include theUta Codex and the Liber Scivias.For daughters of local nobility,embroidery was a commonlylearned activity that provided forwarmth in a domestic environmentas well as a contribution toartistic pursuits. By the EarlyRenaissance, women no longerheld such importance in theproduction of textiles. Men werenow the driving force behindthis economically vibrant trade,as evidenced by the creation ofthe Arte di Calimala (guild ofworkers in wool). Guilds were6


EuropeanPair of Miniature Portraits, 18th centuryWatercolor on ivory; tortoise shell framewith brass inlay; 4 7/8” x 4 1/4”Collection of James H. and Frances R. Allenin existence since the 1st centuryCE in Germany, many of whichduring the Middle Ages includedfemale members. However, bythe 15th century guilds graduallyexcluded women as the systembecame politically, culturallyand economically stronger andincreased control over the arts.The exclusion of women in the artsbegan to wane by the mid-16thcentury when the guild systemstarted to die out. Women soonreturned to working in textiles,while men increased their attentionto finer crafts such as furnituremaking, jewelry and glass.As noted previously, the twowomen who garnered significantattention in Giorgio Vasari’s Livesof the Most Excellent Painters,Sculptors, and Architects wereSofonisba Anguissola andProperzia de’ Rossi. There wereother female portrait paintersof the Renaissance, includingLavinia Fontana, Lucia Anguissola,Fede Galizia, Barbara Longhi,Caterina van Hemessen andLevina Teerlinc. By the early17th century several painters wereturning their attention to still lifepaintings, largely influenced bythis growing trend in the Dutchlands. However, several femalepainters continued figurative worksin the 17th century, includingArtemisia Gentileschi and JudithLeyster. Gentileschi, one of themost prominent female artists inhistory, is the subject of manydiscussions concerning womenin a male-dominated art world inwhich her teacher raped her. Inresponse to this horrific experienceof 1612, Gentileschi createdher most important work, titledJudith Beheading Holofernes. Arthistorians read this work as a selfportraitof Gentileschi as Judithviolently cutting off the head of herrapist, Agostino Tassi.The 18th century was a time ofgreat exploration through theGrand Tours of Europe. Wealthypatrons traveled to historical cities,studying and absorbing the cultureand history. This was also a timeduring which many Americans,mostly men, began a seriousstudy of art in England, Franceand Italy. Paris and London werethe major centers during the 18thcentury, where a sizeable list offemale artists trained. The twomost notable of these importantfigures are Maria Anna AngelicaKauffmann and Élisabeth LouiseVigée-Lebrun.Neoclassicism was sweepingthrough Europe during the secondhalf of the 18th century, whenclassical antiquity was reintroducedand often reinterpreted in parallelwith contemporary issues ofpolitics, religion, culture and socialreforms. Of the two major femalefigures at the time, Swiss-bornAngelica Kauffmann emerged asone of the great historical genrepainters. She is also recognizedfor her important role, alongwith fellow painter Mary Moser,in the founding of the BritishRoyal Academy of Art in 1768.Although these two women wereamong its first members, it was1936 before another female artist,Dame Laura Knight, was elected tomembership.French-born painter ÉlisabethLouise Vigée-Lebrun, who excelledat portraiture, also acquired greatacclaim at a young age. Shepainted her first of more than 30portraits of Marie Antionette whenshe was 24 years old. Her personalrelationship with the queenafforded her many opportunities,7


including membership in theAcadémie Royale de Peinture etde Sculpture in 1783 and a numberof important private commissionsfrom the French aristocracy.Although these two women anda few others acquired significantacclaim, they were still restrictedfrom studying all facets ofportraiture, especially the study ofanatomy and the nude figure.The 19th century was the beginningof the rise of women in art. In part,Europe as a whole was much moreliberal and accepting of womenartists than America. This led asignificant number of Americanexpatriate artists to continuetheir studies in major centerssuch as Paris, London and Rome.Although interest in genre paintingincreased in the United States, itwas especially well received inVictorian England. Portraiturein sculpture was popular amongwomen, bringing artists such asAnne Whitney, Harriet Hosmer andVinnie Ream Hoxie to France orItaly. The avant-garde movementknown as Impressionism,beginning in the 1870s, was widelysupported by female figurativepainters such as Berthe Morisot,Mary Cassatt and Eva Gonzalès.States and included more than 300artists, 50 of whom were women.Female artists in the United Statessaw the liberal attitude towardswomen in Europe and the freedomthat women artists could have incities like New York.Today, a number of female artistscontinue to produce figurativeworks. However, the market forportraiture has diminished sincepostmodernism, which is notclearly defined in figurative, natureor abstract subjects. Formalportraiture today is primarilythrough private commissions.Contemporary figurative worksoften assume the role of social,political and environmentalcommentary, frequently usingtechnology based installationsto create a sensory and/orparticipatory experience.As Post-Impressionism,Expressionism and a number ofother “isms” in art were developingin the early 20th century, womenincreasingly gained in recognition.In fact, the work of women wasnow shown together with thatof men. On February 17, 1913,the Armory Show of ModernArt opened in New York City tothousands of viewers. The ArmoryShow was the first internationalshow of modern art in the United8George Bottini (French, 1874-1907)Adresse Sagot (Sagot’s Gallery), 1898Color lithograph on paper; 11 1/4” x 7 5/16”Miami University Art Museum Purchase through the Patrick A. Spensley Memorial Fund1983.53


A Flowering SpiritElizabeth Nourse (American, 1859-1938)Le Village de Saint Léger, 1912Watercolor on paper; 17 1/4” x 21 3/4”Collection of Frank JordanNature has long been a passionin art and has been interpretedin nearly every artistic medium,most specifically in painting,sculpture, architecture, pottery,prints and photography. Not untilthe 17th century, however, didnature become a subject matter ofits own. Until then flowers, trees,land, sky and water were minorelements typically used to providea setting or a context for figurativeworks. Many contemporary femaleartists continue the long-standingtradition of creating landscape andnature studies, some with figuresand others for the pure beauty andmajesty of the environment.Agricultural production and theharvesting of the land have beenincorporated in art for thousandsof years. As civilizations wereevolving from a hunter-gathererexistence to one of agriculturalsubsistence, the reaping of the landhas been featured in art. Potteryfrom ancient Sumer (ca. 4500-2200BCE) such as the Warka Vase, ca.3200 BCE, depicted harvest andanimal offerings to the goddessInanna. In Greek mythology, thedeity associated with agriculture isDemeter (her Roman counterpartis Ceres). It is perhaps nocoincidence that Demeter (Ceres) isalso the goddess of fertility.In Judeo-Christian doctrine,nature and land have also beenincorporated in numerous storiesthat in turn are expressed in visualform. However, only a few of thenarratives pertain prominently orspecifically to women. One ofthe most notable stories is thatof Adam and Eve in the Gardenof Eden. Major works of artincluding the Sistine Ceiling byMichelangelo consist of worksdevoted to the birth of Eve. The15th century artist Sandro Botticellipainted his famous Birth of Venusand Primavera, both of whichemphasize women in the contextof classical mythology and theimportance of the natural worldof flora and fauna. Between 1622and 1625, the Italian Baroquesculptor Gianlorenzo Berninidepicted the Greek nymph Daphneas she transformed into a laureltree, following her plea to the godsto save her from the passion ofApollo.Just as men were largelyresponsible for figurative works ofwomen until the 17th century, maleartists also produced the majorityof works that connected womenand nature. The Dutch traditionof landscapes, nature studiesand floral still lifes began in theearly 1600s. From the beginning,women artists were first producingstill life images based on the themeof vanitas and the transitory natureof life. Although floral still lifeand landscape painters were mostprominent in Dutch speaking lands,there were a number of womenworking in Italy and Spain. ClaraPeeters, Louise Moillon, Maria vanOosterwyck, Rachel Ruysch, Josefade Ayala, Maria Sibylla Merian and9


the United States. Several localwomen pursued their desire to beaccomplished landscape painters.Dixie Selden and Ginevra Kennedywere two of the more prolificlandscape painters from the late19th century. Dixie Selden studiedat the Cincinnati Art Academyunder noted portrait painter FrankDuveneck, and her ambitiousdevotion took her on several tripsabroad to Mexico, China, Japan,Italy and the Middle East.Kennedy, who was prolific yetrelatively unknown outside of theregion, also traveled extensivelyin Japan, where she completed anumber of landscapes.Non-representational art wasspreading throughout the UnitedStates as a result of the 1913Armory Show in New York City.Many female artists specializingin nature and landscapes wereinterpreting the beauty of theenvironment through abstraction.Emily Carr, Marguerite ThompsonZorach and Georgia O’Keefe, forexample, took their work beyondmere impressions of a tree, forestor flower. Rather than detailed andprecise renderings of the naturalworld, these women were inspiredby fauvist painter Henri Matissein his attention to essential shapes,primary colors and a strong useof line. For the first time in history,women were being interwoven inthe fabric of the art world andincreasing in recognition for theirtalents.In the 1960s, Environmental Art,also referred to as Earthworks,emerged as a vehicle for social,political and environmentalawareness. Artists such asJeanne-Claude, Nancy Holt,Cindy Nixon (American, b. 1951)Close to Home, 2010Oil on canvas; 24” x 30”Courtesy of Eisele Gallery of Fine Art, Cincinnati, OhioBeverly Pepper and MagdalenaAbakanowicz attempted toreinterpret the Barbizon andHudson River School ideals in amore provocative manner. Theytook awareness of the fragilenatural world, and the humanimpact on it a step further than19th century artists by bringingthe audience into the work,transitioning the viewer into aparticipant. Art was taken out ofthe studio and out of the galleriesto a site-specific location where themessage could be read, seen, heardand experienced.Currently there is a resurgenceof landscape and still life inart. Primarily in painting, manycontemporary female artists arecapturing the raw beauty of natureand exploring the diversity of landand water environments. Thisnotion can be seen in the art ofCindy Nixon, Sally Schrohenloher,Mary Beth Karaus, Diane Youngand Peg Grosser displayed in thecurrent exhibition. However, somefemale artists hark back to pre-17th century when nature servedas a background for figurativerepresentations, as though femaleartists depicting nature in art havecome full circle.11


The Modern WomanFollowing the 1913 ArmoryShow in New York City, whereAmericans were first exposed tothe avant-garde art in Europe,modernism began to flourish forartists who desired to break fromthe structure of academic art.However, salient contributionsto art by women did not becomeevident until the late 1940s becausemost of the major developmentsremained under the control ofmale artists. The focus on abstractimagery, often devoid of figuralrepresentation, opened the doorfor women to express themselvesthrough non-representationalimagery no longer solely governedby the male-dominated artacademies.In the early decades of the 20thcentury, women were experiencinga sense of freedom in the artspreviously unknown to them. Theconcept of “art for art’s sake,”which began in the early 19thcentury, continued to offer artiststhe opportunity to create art thatis free of iconography, didacticfunction or commentary onmorality. It was also a period ofchange in patronage. By the early20th century “art for art’s sake”also meant that artists could workindependent of government orchurch patronage. This notion ismost important for women whowere predominantly denied publiccommissions because of genderbias.One year after the Armory Show inNew York City, WWI began inEurope. Graphic arts, lithographyin particular, became a tool forwar propaganda, and the UnitedStates federal government recruitedmale artists to assist with thepromotion of the war effort.Women were considered morevaluable as family matriarchs andfactory workers to produce foodgoods, armaments, clothing andmedical supplies. When the warended in 1918, American soldiersreturned to the United States andto the workforce, forcing womento return to traditional domesticroles. The independence thatwomen experienced during thewar empowered them to push theWomen’s Suffrage Movement. Asa result, the 19th Amendment tothe U.S. Constitution was ratifiedon August 18, 1920, giving womenthe right to vote.No longer content with the maledominatedart world, even withthe decline of the academies,women gained in numbers as12Corrine “Michael” West (American, 1908-1991)Congo, 1972Oil on canvas; 50” x 92”Collection of Larry Huston


Sonia Delaunay (French, 1885-1979)Untitled, 1950Gouache on paper; 26” x 21 1/2”Gift of Dr. and Mrs. James E. Bever1999.25participants and supporters ofthe exciting art scenes of NewYork and the growing Bohemianlifestyle known to Parisian artists.From 1910 to 1920, female artistsbegan experimenting with therecent developments of Post-Impressionism, Symbolism,Fauvism, Expressionism andCubism. During the late 19th andearly 20th centuries, most of thegreat “isms” in art were attributedto men. However, a few womenwere breaking new ground. TheGerman Expressionist painterGabriele Münter, inspired by thework of Vincent Van Gogh andOdilon Redon, was at the forefrontof the Munich avant-garde. Alongwith Wassily Kandinsky and FranzMarc, Gabriele Münter was afounding member of the GermanExpressionist group known as DerBlaue Reiter (The Blue Rider).Sonia Terk-Delaunay, workingtogether with her husband, painterRobert Delaunay, created her own“ism” known as Simultanism. Shestated that “the pure colorsbecoming planes and opposingeach other by simultaneouscontrasts create, for the firsttime, new constructed forms, notthrough chiaroscuro but throughthe depth of color itself.” Theyalso developed another style,later coined Orphism, based onthe principles of Cubism but withincreased negation of recognizableforms and greater importance ofcolor as a means of expression.Any discussion of innovativewomen artists, color and nonrepresentationalart should includethe work of American icon GeorgiaO’Keefe. Her early work,frequently featuring city scenesof New York, was inspired by thephotography of her friend andfuture husband Alfred Stieglitz.Painted in the style knownas Precisionism, these worksportrayed man-made environmentsin a clear, concise manner asthough photographically captured.By 1924, she began paintingthe large-scale bulbous, elegant,abstract flowers for which sheis best known. Although thesefloral forms are often associatedwith female sexuality, O’Keefecontinually denied that her workscontained any symbolism. Shestressed that her paintings weremerely detailed studies of the colorand form of flowers taken out ofthe traditional context of still lifepainters. O’Keefe understood theimportance of reducing details toassemblages of color and shape inan effort to explore the foundationof a composition.Beginning in the 1940s, the centerof art production shifted from Paristo New York. As a result of thedevastation of WWII, the exodusof many avant-garde artists and theincrease in American modernistart since 1913, New York becamea hotbed of activity. The firstsignificant American movement,known as Abstract Expressionism,offered women artists theopportunity to contribute to thedevelopment of a new style.Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning,Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell andHelen Frankenthaler had the most13


significant impact. Krasner andde Kooning both struggled to findtheir own style and recognition, astheir work was overshadowed bythe work of their famous husbands,Jackson Pollock and Willem deKooning.Helen Frankenthaler and LouiseNevelson changed the direction,method, and outcome in artproduction during the 1950s.Frankenthaler quickly developedher own style that offered freshnessto the often heavy paintingapplication of other AbstractExpressionist painters such as HansHofmann. In the early 1950s, sheexperimented with a techniqueknown as “soak-stain,” thinningoil paint with turpentine to producea watercolor-like effect when theapplication soaks into the whitecanvas ground. Nevelson, on theother hand, created sculpturalpieces painted in monochromaticfinishes to convey a sense ofvolume and solidity. Usingfound pieces of wood, Nevelsoncreated compositions bound withinboxes, which were stacked orjoined together. These “walls” ofalternating depths, angles, curvesand lines appear like cabinets ofcuriosities.By the 1960s, abstraction wasmoving towards a greaterunderstanding of the relationshipbetween picture plane, color, lightand the illusion of shapes. Nowknown as Op Art, the idea ofrepresenting depth of field andvariations of the picture plane hasbeen explored for many years.Artists of the 1960s introduced aninteractive environment in whichviewers observe movement andchanges in depth based partly ontheir position before the work.Popular examples of Op Art consistof two-dimensional works onpaper, board or canvas, includingthose by Victor Vasarely, JulianStanczak, Richard Anuskiewicz,Bridget Riley and Rene Parola.Helen Worrall, faculty emerita,Miami University Departmentof Art, produced her Op Artwork Trompe L’Oeil in enamel,intricately organized to blend theoptical illusion of depth of fieldthrough geometric rhythm.Contemporary Polish artist AnnaTrochim began exploring Op Artin the 1990s through the lens ofSonia Delaunay’s approach to colortheory.The early 1970s brought about anew energy in art. The Women’sLiberation Movement in theUnited States inspired femaleartists to express subject matteroriginating from personalexperience. Most feministworks of art produced duringthe 1970s consist of figurativeimagery drawing a connectionto the female body. However,artists such as Hanna Hannah,Corrine “Michael” West, VivianKline, Jennifer Bartlett, JodyHines, Judy Chicago and BettyParsons did not fit into the mold offeminist art. Some of these artistscontinued to push the boundariesof Abstract Expressionism, whileothers explored Color Field orMinimalism.During the late 1970s and into theearly 1980s, sculptors were takinga minimalist approach to space andcolor, as seen in the work of JudyPfaff, Elizabeth Murray, NancyGraves, Sasha Kolin, MaryroseCarroll, Jenny Holzer and NancyHolt. Although the styles of thesewomen are distinctly different,their deconstruction of forms,Louise Nevelson (American, b. Russia, 1899-1988)Rain Garden Zag IX, 1978Found wooden objects and paint; 45 1/2” x 71 1/2” x 9”Gift of the Western College Alumnae Association1980.3714


ambiguity of space, and aconnection with the environment istested by material, color, or the lackthereof. Sasha Kolin’s Cathedral(Going Up), for example, illustratesa minimalist exploration ofmaterials and the conceptualizationof space in and around the objectin relation to the viewer. NancyHolt’s Star-Crossed, located inthe East Lawn quadrant of the ArtMuseum Sculpture Park, blendsthe 1960s Earthworks Movementwith Minimalist sculpture, usingconcrete sewer pipes embeddedinto the landscape. Minimalismin concert with the landscape isbest represented by Maya Lin’smonumental 1975 installation ofthe Vietnam Veterans Memorial inWashington, D.C.As the 1980s progressed, womencontinued to explore texture, colorand movement, while expandingthe borders of contemplativeand profound expression in art.Although Installation Art as amovement began with Dada artistsof the early 20th century, and trulycame on the arts scene in the late1960s, the 1980s was a decadefilled with experimentation ofspace, sensory experience andviewer involvement. Many womenartists adopted the concept ofinstallation and literally createdrooms in which viewers were askedto navigate their way through aninstallation, not simply to view itfrom the outside. Judy Pfaff, forexample, combined the essentialconcepts of Abstract Expressionismwith the atmosphere of a landscapeand organic forms within a threedimensionalconstruct. Otherartists, such as Rebecca Horn,created minimalist environmentswith sensory experiences likesight and sound, while JennyHolzer pushed the limits of socialconsciousness through her fusionof technology and the written word.Over the past two decadestechnology and art have becomeintertwined through computergeneratedimagery, digital art,nanotechnology, video andfilm installations and computerinteractives. However, otherartists, including Anna VanMatre,Ann Hamilton and Ann Sperryhave continued to produce abstractworks through traditional mediaof painting and sculpture. Forexample, in WTC (Fire), VanMatrerepresented the tangible tragicdestruction of the World TradeCenter buildings on September 11,2001, through an abstract use ofcolor, line and shape. Ohio nativeAnn Hamilton, on the other hand,developed her large-scale, abstractdigital media image, titled bookweight tt (human carriage), fromsomething tangible, a series ofcut-up sections of paperback booksthat are bound and then digitallyscanned. In three-dimensionalform, Ann Sperry takes theapproach of a Dada artist in thecreation of sculptures for her MyPiano series. In My Piano 1 andMy Piano 22, Sperry deconstructeda piano and combined the partswith other found objects to createworks that challenge the traditionalassumptions about the physicalform of a piano.It was not an easy road to cross,but the past 30,000 years of trialsand tribulations finally providedwomen with moments of triumph.Feminism in art grew strong andwomen could explore their rightfulplace in the art world. TheyAnna Socha VanMatre (American, b. Poland, 1952)WTC (Fire), 2001Graphite and collage on paper; 40” x 20”Collection of the Artistexperimented with diverse mediaand new audiences.Abstraction in art provided womenwith an opportunity to break outof the mold cast by the maleestablishedart academies. Thedenial of accessibility to the studyof the human form that eludedwomen artists for thousands ofyears was finally broken downby the 1970s. Today, women arereaching new heights as purveyorsof visual culture, patrons, arteducators and art historians thatwill continue to evaluate the riseof women in art.15


2 O 1 1 - 2 O 1 2Did You Know?• Henrietta Johnston (ca. 1674-1729), a pastel portrait artist bornin northwestern France, iscredited as the first femaleprofessional artist in America.• In 1770, after 122 years ofoperation, the French AcadémieRoyale de Peinture et deSculpture limited women’smembership to only four at onetime.• The Académie de Saint-Luc wasfounded in 1391 in Paris toprovide a home to many painterswho were not affordedmembership in the RoyalAcademy. The Académie deSaint-Luc closed its doors in1777, counting 130 womenamong its members.• The Pennsylvania Academy ofFine Arts in Philadelphia,founded in 1805, includedwomen in its first exhibit in1811. Beginning in 1844, theAcademy permitted women tostudy ancient figures on displayfor three hours per week, behindclosed doors. Live femalemodels were introduced intowomen’s segregated life classesin 1860, while the male nudemodel was studied in theclassroom until 1877.• Ohio native Sarah WorthingtonPeter founded the PhiladelphiaSchool of Design for Women in1848. Today, the school is knownas the Moore College of Art andDesign. In 1853, Peter returnedto Ohio to establish the LadiesAcademy of Fine Arts, nowknown as the CincinnatiAcademy of Fine Arts.• In 1875, Anne Whitney ofWatertown, Massachusetts,submitted a model for a statueof Massachusetts Senator andabolitionist Charles Sumner. Hermodel was awarded first placein the competition. However,the Boston Art Committeeretracted the commission whenthey discovered the artist was awoman. Whitney completed thework independently 27 years laterat the request of CharlesSumner’s descendants. Hersculpture is on public display onthe campus of Harvard Universityin Cambridge, Massachusetts.• A course for study of the nudemodel at the Art Academy ofCincinnati was offered to men in1875. It was not until 1885 thatthis course was offered to womenat the Academy.• The National Association ofWomen Artists, founded in 1889,is the oldest professionalwomen’s fine art organization inthe United States.• The Woman’s Art Club ofCincinnati was established in1892. It is the oldest existing artclub for women operating withoutinterruption in the United States.• According to a 1930 census,forty percent of all practicing artprofessionals in America werewomen.• Dame Laura Knight, fromDerbyshire, England, was electedto membership in the RoyalAcademy of Art in 1936. Shewas the first female artist to beelected to membership sinceAngelica Kauffmann and MaryMoser assisted with the foundingof the institution in 1768. Knightserved as the official war artistat the Nuremberg Trials between1945 and 1946.• By February 1973, theGuggenheim Museum in NewYork City had no major women’sexhibits, while the Museum ofModern Art had only four showsby women between 1942 and1969. In the February 1973issue of Ms. Magazine, MarciaTucker, founding director of theNew Museum of ContemporaryArt, noted that of the ten leadinggalleries in New York City only3.6% of the artists shown werewomen.• Maya Ying Lin, who wasborn in Athens, Ohio, reachednational recognition for her1982 monumental work for theVietnam Veterans Memorial Wallin Washington, D.C.Y E A R O F TH E16