“I’m tired of reading about high profile business sisters. I applaud their success and hope women learn from their achievements. But I spent too many years dressing for success and chasing that dream. Now I want to thumb my nose at it and work instead at art.
All sorts of women make contributions to the economy through paid and un paid work and are never recognized for it: from home makers and administrators to volunteers and doctors; from elevator operators and black hawk medevac pilots, to ladies room attendants and internet geniuses. While women have moved into many fields which were once male-dominated, the sexual division of labor is still very real. Women often earn considerably less than men and find themselves in low-status jobs with few benefits
In March of 1999, while still living, working and dressed in a power suit in New York City, I wandered into a side gallery at the Museum of Modern Art. I was surprised to see a series of embroidered samplers. I love antique decorative arts as much as I love modern art. This exhibition was not from the 18th century but rather was the work of contemporary artist Ellen Reichek. Her show, ‘Projects 67’ was a modern interpretation of the traditional embroideries girls and women created as an educational exercise and pastime. Reichek’s pieces replaced the familiar sayings with social critique and commentary, challenging the traditional definitions of art.
Recently I came across the catalog of that show and I began to think, about the work our grandmothers did, and the great value it provided their families. Food preparation, home making, child bearing, under conditions we can only imagine. Their necessary and casual pastime crafts, sewing, quilting, paper cutting, decoupage and embroidery expressed their learning, their taste, their love and are now treasured as art. This line of thinking lead me to my current body of work, a meditation on all types of activities women call work and the exploration of the boundaries between traditional crafts and a fine art context.
Included are postmodern shrines sprinkled with symbols of feminine work, collages influenced by the midcentury Mad Men’s working women, mixed media canvases and textile collages. I see this collection of work in the broader cultural context of female accomplishments, gender politics and domestic life.
Please join other working women by filling out a tag with your own personal to do list and tie it on the mannequin. I believe that this interactive element blurs the distinction between me as the creator and you, the viewer. It allows you as spectator to become a participant in the exhibition. I hope you enjoy this journey.”