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, is a group show and 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 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 my coursework to complete an undergrad in the History in Art Department at the University of Victoria. 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 below how each one formulated in my mind.
(1) Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions
Media Contact: LaTiesha Fazakas at 604.876.2729 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Event: “SHE” with Trace Yeomans, Carollyne Yardley, and Rosa Quintana Lillo
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
Featured artworks by Carollyne Yardley
Madonna and Bank Squirrel (birth of ideas), 24 x 36, oil on wood panel, 2015
Madonna and the Birth of Ideas was already in progress by the time the show theme was revealed. I think it works perfectly into the exhibition, however. The squirrel representing the birth of ideas is a direct reference to how Squirrealism was born from painting just one little squirrel. Read more.
The Celebrity of Being Anonymouse, oil on wood panel, 60? x 40? (152.4 cm x 101.6 cm), 2015
The Celebrity of Being Anonymouse is complete. It is the introduction of a new character. The imagery is the marriage of Mickey Mouse ears, and a Guy Fawkes mask, the later being a stylized depiction of Guy Fawkes, the best-known member of the Gunpowder Plot. More recently the mask has been associated with the film V for Vendetta, the hacktivist group Anonymous, and had wider use in popular protests, such as the Occupy movement.
Guerrilla Squirrel, oil on wood panel, 40 x 40, 2015 (after Guerrilla Girls’ and Pussy Galore)
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. Happy 30th Anniversary to the Guerrilla Girls’! Read more.
Male Figure Drawing Squirrel: What If You Couldn’t ‘Cause You’re A Girl?
When I was enrolled at the Visual Arts, Department of Fine Arts, University of Victoria to complete my undergrad, I didn’t fully appreciate the value and privilege of being able to participate in gender equal art classes. Specifically, drawing male nude models. When I returned to fine art almost a decade later, I still took for granted that this inclusive training was forbidden to women 150 years ago. Read more.