Sleeping on the Job
When I thought about the theme of this show, the experience of the modern womxn, I immediately thought of my own experience as a new mom. There is so much unwarranted advice, judgement and expectation surrounding this new position as a parent to an infant. I gave birth to a beautiful little girl and right away there were family, friends, nurses and doctors telling me what I should do. It made me question myself and feel like I had no business raising a little one. She is now a year old and I know now that I should not have let in the voices of others who do not know my child or my circumstances. Only my voice should have mattered to me.
I purposely depicted a mother and baby napping together on the couch because as a new mom you are told not to co-sleep with your baby and even more so not to nap on the couch. But, when you are waking up every few hours to feed, change and soothe this new little soul, you (and she) are exhausted. So, when this sweet little human drifts to sleep so easily after a bottle you do all you can to let her rest in your arms and not wake her. Have you ever held a sleeping baby? It’s the purest feeling of peace and it makes your already tired eyes heavy. Before you know it, you share an afternoon nap on the couch and when she wakes up you do it all again. Even as you sleep you are on call. There’s no break time for mom, no time card to punch and call it a night. We all just do the best we can and love our children unconditionally. Perhaps we should love ourselves just the same and give each other a break from the barrage of judgement.
Jill a frey
My piece reflects the development of my sense of self. Growing up with little identity and an imposed need for invisibility, i lacked a sense of who I am and how to exist. Where i end and another begins. How to accept and live with needs and wants. Living over 35 years with anorexia, i stripped down to the bone in search of safety. Now, i seek to build myself up again, selecting aspects of self that truly fit.
All objects included in this piece illustrate my process:
· Hexagon is one of the strongest shapes in the world, both geometric and organic. The most efficient use of space-making imaginable, hexagon allows itself to tessellate – build off of itself - to continue to tile and grow.
· Wasp nest comb is historically known as “home”, an enclosure of what lies within. It houses the sacred and the strong.
· Quartz crystals characterize the many varied aspects of myself that i am discovering, allowing, and finally embracing.
· Honeycomb calcite and agate, as stones, symbolically offer protection.
· Beeswax represents resurrection and rebirth, and offers tenderness, a soft place to land.
· Wire, again hexagon in shape, surrounds portions of the art. Containing the process.
· Hexagon brass nuts extend the comb further, advancing as i advance. The “home” moves from fragile, whispery but sturdy cones to solid, impermeable foundations, taking up more space as i gain stability to span and expand.
· Lichen on branches represents nurturing and nourishment as well as perseverance.
· Wood is the material that wasps use to create their strong hexagon nests.
· An oak-framed casement window once opened wide. Now it holds art and bears witness.
· Whereas others, including myself, once turned away, the glass now reflects and returns.
Wonder, I do, about
the weaving of experience and time.
What’s nest, next?
My name is Liz and I am an alcohol ink artist here in Tacoma, WA. I discovered alcohol ink art several months back when I began to dabble in fluid art. I love how fluid, timeless and freeing inks can be. There are a variety of techniques and endless possibilities using this medium and you are not tied down to just one substrate to use as a canvas for your art. No two pieces are the same and the color combinations are endless.
This piece is titled Negative Nebula. Negative nebula is an alcohol ink diptych made by adhering two pieces of synthetic paper called Yupo to 1 ½ cradled birch wood. I then used different drying techniques with alcohol ink and isopropyl to create my piece. After it has dried and been sealed, I then pour resin on top to give it a protective hard and shiny layer and really makes the colors pop. When you see pictures of nebulas you see them against the black vastness of the universe. My “Negative Nebula” is the response to that darkness in our galaxy. Different colors are immersing together against a white background to be a yin to the yang of our solar system.
Jennifer Preston Chushcoff
CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH
The Modern Womxn show led me to reconsider stereotypes, particularly attributed to male versus female behavior, treatment and characteristics. For me, what it means to be a “woman” is akin to inquiring what it means to be a human. I ask, ‘Does who you do, define you?’ Whether genetically XX (female), XY (male) or any of the others, such as XXYX (intersex), we all yearn to be known as individuals.
Gender identity is a hotly-debated topic, but we’ve barely nicked the surface of the nuanced subject of biological variation. Ancient Greek culture was aware of what they called, “hermaphroditism” and created works of art to celebrate it. Now, it is better understood as intersex, the naturally-occurring phenomenon of humans born with ambiguous external genitalia or internal organs (ovaries and testes).
These characteristics are inborn, but aren’t always recognized at birth, for instance, an individual having one internal ovary and one testicle. Some people live their entire life not knowing that they are intersex until they seek to know why they are infertile and digital imaging reveals their unique internal anatomy, or it is discovered during an autopsy. Intersex Olympic athletes, like gold medalist Caster Semenya, force us to reckon with these evolutionary explorations.
Evolution needs variation to choose from and these genetic events are nature’s way of ensuring the future. Hopefully, with knowledge and understanding, we will be comfortable with ambiguity and pause to consider declaring the gender of an infant born with both sexual organs, perhaps even until they reach puberty and decide for themselves.
Evolution has no end; it is always striving forward, struggling to support the immortality of genetic code. Intersex individuals may be the chimera of today, but they may also be our future.
Before we create artificial delineations, let’s remove the blinders and embrace each other in this extraordinary moment of existence – we are here, now, unique, and never will be again.
Graphic art on metal. Fifty-three women shared their experiences of what it feels like to be a modern womxn. This piece represents their feelings of being seen incompletely, being invisible, or being a disposable prop. "Not enough," "pretty," "don't," and "aggressive" are threads that echo through these conversations, documented in 1,652 words.
built on stilts
smoke fired ceramic
Throughout history women have been considered the keepers of the domicile. This is seen globally throughout many cultures, and in nearly all major religions. Even in a modern world, we are raised to value our ability to care for our dwellings and families over all else. This has been one of woman’s greatest obstacles. Today we are expected to balance a career while still fulfilling our traditional gender roles within the home. The piece explores this concept by integrating the housing structure with the figure, precariously balanced on stilts
A Woman is Still a Woman
I’ve used vintage and antique images to explore the ambiguity of our many roles as women and the influences which shape our emotional development. I hope to initiate a dialogue regarding society’s “ownership” of women’s bodies and the need to comment, exploit, restrict.
“...Ophelia was a tempest cyclone, a goddamn hurricane...”
Ascent + Descent
Tessellatum in Basalt
I'm working with color, texture, and scale to make something that looks fragile but visibly demonstrates strength. Bearing the weight of each other against gravity, the ceramic tiles take up space without completely blocking sight lines. The tablets were intentionally warped as they fired to highlight the minimal, repetitive texture.
The name for this piece comes from the term 'opus tessellatum', a mosaic technique for arranging tesserae (tiles) in horizontal or vertical lines.
L. Antonia Hernandez
Epic of American Civilization: The Post-Patriarchal Golden Age (2019)
An homage to José Clemente Orozco's 1934 Epic of American Civilization mural, The Post-Patriarchal Golden Age is the second installment of a two-part series highlighting ways in which pregnancy, birth, and womxnhood are used as a modality for oppression in America today. A simplistic contrast to The First Environment (2018), this piece depicts a future of birth built by and for the people who experience it. As the glass ceiling begins to crumble, this new future is rooted in nature, supported by strong allies, and held up by the pillar of consent. Only by dismantling systems which deny the value of human life can we move forward from isolating and traumatic experiences designed to subjugate and dis-empower the voice of the masses. Holding sanctity for parents and the new life they choose to raise is the first step in cultivating an environment in which all people are recognized as having value and worth.
Jenny L Miller
I Will Not Be Restrained
Exploring the modern self-portrait by looking at the present through a lens of the past. I’m influenced by a favorite of mine, artist Cindy Sherman’s photograph "Untitled Film Still #21", 1978 (City Girl) to contribute to this self-portrait. I admire the powerful work of this influential artist who helped pave the way in the art world for the womxn artist working today. Drawing parallels between Cindy’s use of photography to how I currently use social media in a free and imaginary portrayal of the self. I’m fascinated by the ways we can manipulate our viewers on social media and recast our own identities and perspectives allowing us to be whatever we want. There lies the blurred lines between reality and the internet in which we are so intimately entangled.
Solar Plexus Moon: Healing the Inner Self
The solar plexus chakra is considered your power chakra- the center of your ego. From this energy source we develop our personal power, self-belief and self-worth. Your solar plexus chakra is activated anytime you muster the courage to do something that scares you, anytime you speak up for yourself and when you exert your willpower. As a woman it’s easy to experience imbalance in this chakra, through excessively trying to control our environments, to feeling unheard and underappreciated. This could lead to the misuse of our power through judgment and anger. We could also suffer from a lack of self-confidence and be overly emotional. Balancing the solar chakra starts with intention and searching within.. Painting for me is always about facing my fears and combating self-doubt. To be intentional about what I aim to express artistically and perform, is empowerment. This self-portrait radiates my power to the world, healing my own energy at its core.
The depiction of the bull skull represents the death/rebirth of my “so-called” nature, affixed with new affirmations to reactive my solar plexus chakra, energizing personal power. This is the art of healing; self realization expressed from within outward. - @cc_wrote
Miracle of Imperfection
Multimedia: Watercolor, acrylic, pen
Body acceptance is a fluid, never-ending experience just like coming out. In my life body image was more closely related to how I was viewed in a heterosexual society. My insecurities were more about being seen and compared by men and straight women. Along the way I was focused on my perceived imperfections at the moment: hair, breasts, weight, nose… Thinking back I never really questioned whether women were attracted to me. My angst was more focused on revealing my identity as a lesbian. Recently I realized that coming out was not only an acceptance of my sexuality but a loving of myself as I am: body, mind, spirit. Both coming out and getting older are inevitable but having an old body is something I never thought would happen to me. But it did.
“Beauty is a miracle of things going together imperfectly.” Anne Lamott, Stitches
Does a plant question its yellow leaves?
While working with Polaroid film, I have been able to relinquish a certain amount of control within the medium. In letting go of some control, I have found a greater admiration for the oddly beautiful flaws inherent to working with such a finicky medium. The appreciation I've found for this unique medium has transcribed into other parts of my life; specifically how I view my inner self and body. For generations there has been an impossible expectation, a flawless mold, set in place holding us to an incredibly high standard of how we should look, act, dress, etc. It is a constant battle to push past these flawless ideals and find acceptance in society. "Does a plant question its yellow leaves?" Most would ponder this question, and answer quite obviously, "No, of course not!" This yellow leafed plant does not bow to beauty standards, it is not swayed to think it is inferior when placed next to a plant of another variety or color, it simply exists as it was meant to. There is a self-consciousness that has been created through years of propaganda forcing us to compare ourselves against others. We nit-pick and bash ourselves when we can not conform to the "one size fits all" standard of beauty that somehow gives us permission to be good enough. Our imperfections are what makes each of us original and distinctive.
If you can’t see yourself in the childlike,
it’s harder to feel innocent.
If you can’t see yourself desirable,
it’s harder to feel wanted.
If you can’t see yourself in the divine,
it’s harder to feel powerful.
If you can’t see yourself in the heroes,
it’s harder to feel brave.
not yours to touch
I am not yours to touch
do not graze my thigh
do not pat my arm
do not caress me
I do not know you
I am not yours to touch
my body is mine
my space is mine
my sexuality is mine
you do not know me
I am not yours to touch
you are not entitled to me
you are not ‘just being nice’
you are not ‘being sweet’
I know me
and I am not yours to touch
none of us are
Additional images of artwork here