"Seeing My Way"
901 New York Avenue NW
April 1-May 1, 2022
The title of this exhibit has two meanings. The first refers to the process by which I have become an artist. After many years of teaching and conducting research about U.S. women and gender, in 2016 I retired from my position as a professor of history and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park and returned to my first love: making art. Since then, I have been exploring and experimenting with many different media as I develop ways to express how I see the world and respond to it.
The title’s second meaning emphasizes the effort to “find my voice,” to see things my way. I began with painting but soon found myself drawn to less conventional materials—the stuff of everyday life: packaging and labels; textiles, paper and plastics; “found objects,” large and small. I incorporate these things into my work as-is or prepare them by tearing, painting, folding or otherwise modifying them. The results take the form of collages and assemblages as well as works on canvas.
My art is not unconnected to my previous output as a historian. In books, articles and conference papers, I addressed women’s experience and how it was shaped not just by the mores, laws and policies of their day but also by the built environments in which they lived and worked. These days, I am intrigued by modern domesticity and the colors, textures and shapes of items that compose it—not just the products themselves but the packaging in which they arrive. At the same time, I can’t help seeing the perils of abundance: the stuff that enables our lifestyles also clutters the world and poisons our air and water. To borrow a phrase from William Butler Yeats, it is a terrible form of beauty.
Pink Recycle, 2019