"HOMESPUN"

"HOMESPUN"
"Middle-Aged Woman at Table" 48" x 60" 1979

"HOMESPUN" by John Perreault
The SOHO News  December 15, 1981

Excerpted from the review: "When the art historians sort out the pluralism of the '70's, and if that sorting out is done fairly and sexism hasn't regained the day, the rise of women artists will have to be accounted for.  I am looking to historians because our major museums, art-book publishers, and textbook corporations seem not about to give women artist their due."
"We almost have such an exhibition now.  With some weeding out, some expansion to include more major works, some narrowing down, "Home Work" The Domestic Environment Reflected in Work by Contemporary Women Artists" could have been a major museum show.  It was initiated by the Womans Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York where it opened last May.  There after it traveled to Syracuse University and it is now at the Henry Street Settlement in NYC."
"Let me first dispose of the paintings.  I like many of them.  All of them certainly illustrate the theme of the domestic environment:  still lifes by Marion Lerner Levine, Loretta Menchel Shapiro, Harriet Shorr and Joyce Stillman-Myers.  Ruth Gray's paintings of unmade beds, in spite of a paint surface I find hesitant, have emotional force.  Diane Marsh's two paintings of individual women seated  in an immaculate kitchen make one ponder the price of housewifery, as everyone should.  Feminist paintings, however, might better be investigated by a separate and expanded show."
"Breaking down the barriers seems to me to be one of the things feminist art is about: barriers between art and craft, between public art and so-called domestic art, between women artists, between the generations, between artists and the general public, and perhaps even the socially reinforced barriers between men and women, between what is considered male or female."
"This big question is not formal innovation or whether or not any partcular kind of art has a secondary market-that is, can be resold at higher prices than purchased for- but whether or not art can change life.  Most feminist artists seem to think it can; that kind of passionate idealism is salutary."

HOME WORK: "The Domestic Environment reflected in work by contemporary women artists"

HOME WORK: "The Domestic Environment reflected in work by contemporary women artists"
"Red/Green" oil on canvas 48" x 60", 1979


 
HOME WORK: "The Domestic Environment reflected in work by contemporary women artists"
(catalogue)
 
From the curators statement by Harmony Hammond:   "When we begin to examine the work being done today by women that deals with the domestic environment, we begin to see several reccuring apporaches to the subject matter.  As Lippard writes, women "...seem to be taking off from, rather than getting off on, the implications of floors, brooms, and dirty laundry." 
Hammond continues, "Sometimes, but rarely, women are actually pictured within the domestic scene.  More often we, the viewer left to project ourselves into this private world.  When women are depicted they are usually alone having a quiet cup of coffee, isolated, or perhaps looking out a window.  Always a private world is alluded to-- sometimes hope, escape, transformation, or connection.  
Perhaps it is women's use of the grid that most implies connections and ties.  Women have used the grid as a means of organizing and controlling their art much in the same way that lists organize thier lives.  When combined with marking, the grid is transformed from its reference to weaving to design, decoration, and patterning.