Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Aging of Women Artist

Louise Nevelson photo by Jack Mitchell and google image
The Aging of Women Artists became of interest to me when I brought home a film of Louise Nevelson(click) to review for a lesson I was preparing to teach.  My Mother watched it with me and was very moved by the film, as it showed an older Nevelson facing aging without fear.  Mom had been worry about her looks and wrinkles as she was approaching 80.  She declared to me, "Well, at least I can look interesting like her!"  The Arts are never easy for women.  They have to fight a male dominated art scene and fight with galleries and museums to show their work..that women's art is as inherently interesting as mens.  Like so many areas where there is gender bias, there are a lot of battles to be fought to make a difference and make things change. Georgia O'Keeffe, Lousie Nevelson, Louise Bourgoise, Lee Krasner,  Elizabeth Murray and Elizabeth Catlett are among the pioneers of strong women persevering in the art world.(click on each name for more information)

Georgia O'Keeffe    from google image

The American culture is so youth centered that we forget to treasure the beauty of aging.  I think each of these artists captured the onward march of aging with grace, dignity and courage, but they also did more they gathered in the process like art work in process and made it their own. These women were courageous from the beginning, but they lasted the race.  They did not listen to the naysayers and people who said it is a mans' world, they set their own pace and declared their own place.  I am not I saying they had no problems, ...they all struggled, they all had set backs, but the strength within and the belief in their own creative abilities gave them the fortitude to last out.  I think we owe them a tip of the hat and a look at their lives and art.  They were the Women Pioneers in Art and role models for women artists who came after them.  It is time in our culture to turn away from the worship of youth and beauty as the ultimate goals in life to honoring and treasuring what these women artist knew, surface beauty is not lasting and is superficial, but inner strength, fortitude, intelligence and skill is the stuff of life and courage.
So we honor you all for in your faces are the lines and wrinkles that make up a sculpture of character and accomplishment. 

 As in James Cameron's movie Avatar....WE SEE YOU!

Louise Bourgeoise from google image
Elizabeth Murray above and Elizabeth Catlett below 
google image

Lee Krazner  photo from google image
Lela Gordon, my Mother at 99
the woman who wanted to age well!

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