I really have to speak about two women. One wrote the frustration-filled email that I reproduce below. The other overcame a life changing event to produce work for a significant exhibition that just opened.
I attended the opening at Perimeter last Friday.
Janis Pozzi-Johnson's solo exhibition, "Then and Now", (postcard left) was mounted just 3 months after her son unexpectedly dropped dead. She produced, despite indescribable pain, a glorious body of work.
Another friend let off steam in response to an earlier post. She expresses the pain women and others who dream of art careers, who work hard to be taken seriously, and are not, experience. We know the many obstacles that are overcome and the sacrifices that are made to be able to be productive.
Janis is doing just fine. Her work is gorgeous. Everyone in the crowded gallery gushed over her work. Her sales were good, too.
Here is a two year old photo of Janis Pozzi-Johnson with her work:
My other friend is not producing art right now. I told her I would not use her name. She allowed me to post the email she sent to me in the moment, not an essay, just an informal response to what she had read and how it triggered old memories.
Joyce you can post it. I was letting off steam but it is relevant. I know of too many women artists who had the same problems.
I like the article on "There's Never been a Great Woman Artist". It
reminded me of when I was in undergraduate school at the University of
Illinois. As a black female with a child, I got the works. I was
told that I would never become a serious artist because women with children didn't have the stamina, and could make the sacrifice that it took to be an artist. That raising children took off the "edge." I was graded down and told to leave. I took that professor before the Dean. I wasn't the only female that had problems. Another (white) woman in grad school had her child taken away because she was trying to met the criteria, by leaving her child alone at night to work on her projects. In grad school in Dallas Texas, I ended up leaving my daughter with the parents for my last semester, so I could finish and still didn't pass the practicum - one hour. This time because of "attitude." People like that critic just keep being born.
However one reason I do know why women artists don't get to the so
called "A-list" is because of support. That lack of support is in itself sexism. Like , I knew that I was going to be an artist very early - six years old, just like my uncle and my neighbor.
But even today, my family don't take my work seriously. They like it, some of them have lost paintings that I gave them as presents when I had nothing else to give. Men in my life saw no value in what I was trying to accomplish. Even my male artist friends and lovers. And don't be better than them...
But I digress.