Opening Reception: Saturday May 23th 6pm – 8pm
Exhibition Dates: May 23th – June 20th
Venue: Fazakas Gallery, 145 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver
Gallery Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Tuesday to Saturday
This is one of my new works appearing in this upcoming group show. The theme of SHE, Fazakas Gallery, is about diversity in feminism. FULL SHOW DETAILS HERE.
In order to remind myself of the WORD, I downloaded a copy of Gloria Steinem’s, Outrageous Acts, and Everyday Rebellions and re-read the Guerrilla Girls’, Beside Companion to the History of Western Art, and ART MUSEUM Activity Book.
Since 1985, the Guerrilla Girls’, an anonymous collective of female artists and art-world professionals, have used gorilla masks, glue brushes, and acidly satiric posters to prove that humour (and fake fur) can illuminate and educate the art community to the sexism, racism and inequality in the art world. (4) The Guerrilla Girls’ 1986 Report Card tallied the number of women represented by top New York galleries at the time.
Curator Maura Reilly posted an image of gallery gender statistics in February 2015. It was Pussy Galore’s 2015 Report Card by the Feminist Art Collective showing the percentages of women represented by some of the top art galleries in New York City today. The two images are below for comparison. The new tally shows sexism is still alive and well at top NYC galleries.
In planning the painting, Guerrilla Squirrel, my use of the squirrel mask (by Archie McPhee), and its metaphor for secrets was a perfect parallel to the GGs’ gorilla mask of anonymity.
The Guerrilla Girls’ website reads, “We’re feminist masked avengers in the tradition of anonymous do-gooders like Robin Hood, Wonder Woman and Batman. How do we expose sexism, racism and corruption in politics, art, film and pop culture?”
The mention of Wonder Woman made me think of a book I bought years ago at a yard sale. Wonder Woman, A Ms. Book Published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston and Warner Books, 1972. I pulled it out to keep the stream of ideas flowing. Low and behold, the book has an introduction by Gloria Steinem / interpretive Essay by Phyllis Chesler, and designed by Bea Feitler. Additionally, each of the four sections of comics: Origins, Sisterhood, Politics, and Romance, have a preface by Gloria Steinem.
Did I mention that I’ve owned and operated a Wonder Woman costume ever since 1977?
Next up was asking permission from the Guerrilla Girls’ and Pussy Galore (both located in NYC) to use the Report Cards in a painting. I first emailed the Guerrilla Girls’, and asked if they would grant me permission to use their 1986 Report Card. I received an email back the next day from Kathe Kollwitz (a pseudonym).
On Mar 6, 2015, at 4:50 AM, Guerrilla Girls wrote:
Sure. Could you send an image of the painting when you finish it?
Best, Kathe Kollwitz for the Guerrilla Girls
Next, I emailed Pussy Galore. Initially, I heard back from Maura Reilly letting me know I needed to ask the collective itself. Within hours, I had received permission from the Feminist Art Collective to use the 2015 Pussy Galore report card.
We’d be delighted! Just be sure to credit us somewhere. And please send us a pic of the painting when you finish it–for our files.
thanks for thinking of us.
I was very thrilled at this point. And grateful! Thank you to both the GGs’ and the PG’s.
My final concept blended the two report cards (Guerrilla Girls’ 1986 and Pussy Galore 2015), Gloria Steinem dressed as WW with gold bracelets flexing her gun muscles, the primary colours of the Wonder Woman Ms. Book (which I likened to the bold colours of the Guerrilla Girls’ posters), and the squirrel mask (by Archie McPhee) for anonymity. Even my favourite Star Global Advanced IT Corp. Ltd. and Carollyne Yardley Omnimedia logo = the five-pointed star was integrated, although it IS a Wonder Woman thing.
Guerrilla Girls In the News:
Activists New And Old Jab Art World
At 30, Guerrilla Girls Still on Masked Mission
Guerilla Girls Birthday Party 30 Years and Still Counting
The Guerilla Girls Are Still Relevant After All There Years
The Guerrilla Girls: 30 years of punking art world sexism
Pussy Galore in the News:
Art Collective Pussy Galore Shows NYCS Galleries Still Pretty Sexist
Pussy Galore’s 2015 Gallery Report Card is Out
Squirrel Mask by: Archie McPhee
Diversity in Feminism, SHE, by Carollyne Yardley
When LaTiesha Fazakas, owner of the Fazakas Gallery suggested the theme for SHE, I was excited to think about how the squirrels would communicate their POV. Perhaps they would not all be squirrels, maybe a mouse would be in the house. Yes, more rodents. SHE, a group show includes Trace Yeomans, Rosa Quintana Lillo, and myself. The theme explores diversity in feminism. The topic of feminism has not been a focus of my existing body of work per say, but I’ve always believed in equality for myself, and I was excited to be challenged to visually communicate this topic.
I was a young adult in the mid-90’s. Being a pioneer, founder, co-owner, and creative director of a software application and web development company, provided me with the experience of working with all types of business owners, and people in the technology industry. While the incidences of sexism I experienced during that time were too few to mention, if it did occur, the offender was surely drowned out in an acid bath of derisive mockery. During that time, I did notice a lack of women attending tech conferences in Victoria, BC, but it never occurred to my younger self, that this was probably a trickle down affect of sexism. I was there, and that’s what mattered to me at the time.
The last time I had read any feminist discourse or engaged in debate on the subject, was during coursework to complete my undergrad in Fine Art at the University of Victoria (early 90’s). I took courses such as Women in Film, and Women in Television. Perusing my bookshelves today, I still have some of the recommended readings: Multiple Voices in Feminist Film Criticism, Logics of Television, Essays in Cultural Criticism, Television and Women’s Culture, and Feminism and Film Theory. During one of these courses, I recall writing a paper about how the television commercial made for the Emjoi Razor, which demonstrated dehairing the female body, made women a victim of patriarchy. At the time, the course work resonated with me, and to this day I can’t watch a movie or television show without anticipating a white male protagonist to save the day.
To plan my artworks for the show, I began to pull books from my bookshelf. The Guerrilla Girls’ Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art, and the Art Museum Activity Book. Next, I downloaded Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions by Gloria Steinem.
I had not read any of Gloria’s books as a younger woman, so I didn’t get the perspective of comparing my thoughts from then to now. However, as a woman with life experience, Gloria’s discussion about how student-age women are probably treated with more equality than they ever will be again is not inaccurate. It’s true that with age, it’s the experience of life events: entering the paid labour force, marrying or having children and discovering who raises them and who does not; and aging, still a far greater penalty for women than for men – is how the lens can change from which you view the world. (1) I submitted four paintings for this group show, and have described above how each one formulated in my mind.
(1) Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions