Deeply rooted in the feminine experience my painting practice is a type of storytelling. Retrieving and reclaiming memories of the past and experiences in the present, combine to celebrate a life’s story, recalling the feminine tradition of recording and sharing family stories and history. This body of work is inspired by a classic text of the feminist art movement, “Waste Not Want Not: An Inquiry into what Women Saved and Assembled—FEMMAGE”, written by Mariam Schapiro and Melissa Meyer*. The characteristics of “Femmage” (or Feminist Collage), a word invented by Schapiro and Meyer, includes activities as they were practiced by women using traditional women's techniques to achieve their art: sewing, piecing, hooking, cutting, appliquéing, cooking and the like - activities also engaged in by men but assigned in history to women. “These decorative functional objects women made often spoke in a secret language, bore a covert imagery.”
This work creates a “secret language” through a painting process which explores the vague and elusive nature of remembering. The iconography illustrates an intimate yet abstract account of my experience as a woman: motherhood, femininity, aging and memory. The paintings evolve over time by layering paper scraps, old book pages, paint, spray paint, fabric, and canvas, evoking similarities to the creative practice of Femmage as described by Schapiro and Meyers, “Each cherished scrap of percale, muslin or chintz, each bead, each letter, each photograph, was a reminder of its place in a woman's life, similar to an entry in a journal or a diary...”
The assemblage of collected materials is often part of my own process and relates to the traditions of collage, quilting and storytelling, speaking to the way they are all “pieced” together. As the lines, layers and forms combine on the canvas, lingering memories and fragments of things once forgotten are also “pieced together” to catalyze a remembrance of one's own passing of time.
*Miriam Schapiro and Melissa Meyer, “Waste Not Want Not: An Inquiry into what Women Saved and Assembled--FEMMAGE.” Heresies I, no. 4 (Winter 1977-78): 66-69.
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