One of the things I loved about art history in college was how my professor (who taught most of my art history classes at Seton Hill) would tell us all the stories about these artists. While I have always had to work hard to memorize dates and names, the feelings come to me easily. There were so many interesting facets to who these artists were that I hadn’t heard before. It truly helped me understand their work, in all its context. I especially enjoyed getting all of my art history from female professors, at a newly co-ed university. It was different, and so much more engaging than the couple art history courses I had in foundation studies at the Columbus College of Art and Design. Smaller classes, and actual discussions that facilitated a conversation of how women fit into the traditional narrative of, well, everything. I had never felt so supported and connected as I did surrounded by so many women artists. It was there, that I really had space to examine how I hadn’t felt that before, how I hadn’t ever really connected to “the Church”, or various parts of society and culture, because women’s stories aren’t told.
An incredibly influential moment for me was in a women in religion class, where we were discussing how women aren’t represented in the Church, how women actually founded the Church, and how we might reclaim some space in our selves to connect to it again. Sitting with this emptiness and contemplating it led me to paint it, and become more interested in Buddhist ideas on meditation and intentional emptiness. I didn’t paint very much after graduation, as I was studying art therapy and doing photography. I went to the Savannah College of Art & Design for my master’s in photography, leaving my art therapy master’s on hold indefinitely. I just picked up painting consistently again about 3 years ago after going through substantial loss. I had to direct myself into something – painting emptiness, and making tiny sculptural bowls that held only space seemed to be the most sensical thing I could do.
One of the things I have missed since being at Seton Hill is absolutely that perspective that women have existed, contributed significantly, and have not received proper credit for this. Women exist in history, even if it isn’t well documented or taken seriously by rich white men.
I have realized that, even among the woke fellows that I know, they’re not the best at listening, understanding, or representing the work of women. I want to to be taken seriously. I want women’s work to be taken seriously. I want other women to know that women have come before them, and will come after them, and to see their place in all of this. This is exactly why I was so excited to discover a podcast called, Art for Your Ear, by The Jealous Curator (Danielle Krysa). There is much dialogue about all the varied valid ways that women artists exist, and discussion about the trials faced. In fact, Danielle has a new book coming out soon called, “A BIG IMPORTANT ART BOOK (NOW WITH WOMEN!)” that I can’t wait to get my hands on.