In this short excerpt, the author analyzes two different techniques in an approach to abstract painting by two painters. In a show curated by Emily Sorkin, various women painters and their pieces are exhibited. The author attempts to justify how an audience can create meaning out of an abstract work in the postmodern age.
Early philosophers such as Plato have characterized art as an imitation of something else. For the larger part of art history, painting has typically been the recreation of a particular scene, until abstract expressionism was practiced. One of the biggest implications of art is mood. During the arrival of abstraction, critics questioned whether abstract painting had the ability to create or resemble a mood. Although realistic painting and abstract painting come across visibly different, they both obtain to create emotion, it has been concluded. Instead of the way realistic painting gives mood: based on surface level vision of the painting, abstract painting makes viewers ponder more deeply about the inner emotions of the painter.
Theories pertaining to abstract art are contrasted between the views of Reid MacCallum and Etienne Gilson while the author also inserts their own view of the theories. MacCallum favors the representational element of abstract painting, the copying of nature and its forms. Whereas Gilson believes abstract is the creative manner in which an artist thinks and perceives a new reality. The author cites various painters from Kandinsky to Picasso, citing their abstract transition and how their forms stray further away from reality, making them indistinguishable.
Ann Gibson analyzes the obstacles American Abstract Painters endured in the institution of museums. Particularly focusing on four women artists: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Koonig, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler. Although all of these women would go on to become romantically involved with popular male abstract painters, and came from causcasion and heterosexual identities, they would still face conflict when attempting to be accepted into a museum. One of the largest arguments against female abstract painters was that abstract expressionism expressed the ideas of man that these women could not portray.
Many painters experimented with the idea of collage. But Merce Cunningham began the idea of collage within a performance. Coming from a musical and performance based background, Cunningham often performed on stages and illustrated the idea of collage and often “splicing” the raw events. Collage allows for artists to experiment with the traditional notion of space and perception.
Lisa Florman analyzes the works of Picasso and Braque and their transition from Cubist paintings to more collage styled paintings. Both painters had to evaluate the meaning of flatness, space, shapes, and materials as they practiced collage.
The author believes that the process of a painting is also included in its aesthetic technique. Yet it is a highly debated idea since art history and art criticism have taught alternate views on how to approach art, and to truly understand a painting is to also understand its process of creation.
Crispin Sartwell makes his argument concerning process art by questioning its relation to theories of art, and its purpose, value, necessity and sufficiency to the viewer. He concludes by determining that art has various meanings, literal and metaphorical, therefore process art should be considered art.
Process art is analyzed in a chronological and spatial way. An artwork is not a final product ready to be shown, it starts with an idea and thought process, experimentation, and time taken for creation.
Gayle Wald examines the relation between girlhood and feminism in relation to the punk scene and rock eras. She starts by analyzing the language “Just A Girl” by No Doubt portrays in its lyrics. From there Wald moves on to the earlier punk origins of Riot Grrrls and their focus on social issues such as sexism, misogyny, racism, and homophobia. The Riot Grrrl subculture and music groups participating in it try to counteract the female sexuality and stereotypes the media and music industry perpetuate. Wald names various bands that participated in the Riot Grrrl movement and how they influenced feminism and societal expectations of the female gender.
Punk girls wanted a collective group much like punk boys did. Inspired by second wave feminism in the 70’s, Riot Grrrls acted on these ideas in a more aggressive, angrier, and louder demeanor to be heard. Different chapters of the community were made and often had get-togethers where bands would perform, trading and selling of items and various workshops on serious societal subjects in an effort to empower themselves or “DIY” inclusion. Following the explanation of the group, the authors of the article provide Riot Grrrl individual testimonials from members from the nationwide group. Collectively, the testimonials detail the experiences, beliefs, and opportunities thr group has given young girls.
Queer and Feminist Theories and Its Effects on Art Education
Both authors of this article develop how the 1970’s brought about a writing and emphasis on art made by women. Horne and Tobin question the effectiveness of women writing their own art history and what women can do as allies for the support of female equity beyond art.
Dipti Desai surveys Queer Theory and its challenge against heterosexuaity as an institution and how it fits in America’s multicultural society. While theories and issues pertaining to race and ethnicity are taught, those of sexuality are not. When Queer theory and homosexual ideas are silenced, heteronormativity continues to be practiced and perpetuated in art education.
Written from a first person point of view, Enid Zimmermman expresses her experience in learning art history and its exclusion of women artists. Zimmerman wants artwork made by women to be analyzed critically as society treats work made by men. She calls art educators to action by asking them to think critically about the materials they provide to their students and how intersectional art and art history should be.
Instead of focusing on female liberation solely. Author Erica Rand reveals how applying a lesbian perspective and female connection can embrace womanhood in art. Studying the embrace between women and how women work together can offer a more cohesive and inclusive practice.
This article provides statistical information prior to 1986, showing the preference for men in art related jobs in education. Following this information, women are surveyed based on their experiences and feelings of non belongingness in institutions that persuade them to participate. By favoring men in art fields, women don’t get the opportunity to teach their methods of approaching art, thus creating a male-based thinking system.