Sophia Wallace is a photographer living and working in New York City. Wallace uses photography and portraiture to challenge normative assumptions about gender, race, and heteronormativity. I could probably write a blog post on each of her series, the photographs are so striking. Instead, I'll highlight a few of them and I encourage you to visit her site and browse yourself.
I fall more in love with the work of Catherine Eyde every time I look at her art. Her colorful renditions of women, creatures and landscapes both ordinary and fantastical walk the line between twee and haunting, like a gorgeous, uneasy mixture of Grimm's fairy tales, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and feminist sci-fi.
Susan 15 #1, Shatila Refugee Camp Beirut, 2010
Rania Matar is a Lebanese-born photographer who currently lives and and teaches in Massachusetts. In a recent interview she said, "I was 11 when the war started and like most children was resilient enough to learn to live with it. It just became a fact of life and then things would be peaceful and life would be normal again and we all forgot about the war till it struck again." This take on what constitutes "normal" has led Matar to use photography to explore the everyday lives of women and children as a window into the world at large. Her photography projects in the Middle East has covered refugee camps, Christian Arabs, and a far more diverse representation of women and the veil than Western mainstream media ever feels like portraying. In her new project, "A Girl and Her Room," she is re-celebrating the everyday in a new way by taking portraits of young women in their bedroom, from Massachusetts to the Middle East.
Swoon works in a combination of wheat-paste and paper cutout to create life-sized, figurative and graphic street art with strength and femininity. While a great deal of her work has been done outside the confines of a gallery, she was classically trained as a painter before adopting street art techniques.
The artist formerly known as Caledonia Curry studied painting at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and started doing street art around 1999 at age 19. She's also a member of the Justseeds Artists' Cooperative, a grass-roots, decentralized group of artists who believe in art as both personal expression and collective action. This group contributes graphics to struggles for justice, both in the studio and on the streets, collaboratively and individually, all over North America.
Tomorrow night in Portland (Thursday, February 17 at 7:00 PM), renowned artist Carolee Schneemann will give a free performance lecture at PCC's Performing Arts Center on the Sylvania Campus. A product of the 1960s-70's New York art scene, her work challenged, shocked, and forced her audience to think about their reaction to women's bodies and feelings about physicality, often with her own body as part of the composition.
If you've ever thought the rainbow patch could use a 21st century makeover, you weren't alone. Revel & Riot is a new company whose aim is to "promote LGBTQ rights, awareness and equality through new media, graphics, writing, and products on the internet." Their tees, posters, and buttons with sharp designs and reappropriated statements ("God Hates Bags", "Gay is Good", "Ask. Tell.") are awesome and a great way to show your politics while looking good. by Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun Home author Alison Bechdel has even given a shout-out to them!
Anthologies are tricky projects to undertake. They are by their nature exclusive, as their purpose is either to further a canon's creation without challenging it, or to shatter boundaries and call for re-definitions and new critical perspectives. Either way, the vast majority of contributors to the anthologized media will be left out. Modern Women: Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art is self-consciously trying to create both kinds of compilations at the same time. The book being about modern art specifically further complicates the viewing of these artists and their work—the editors are attempting to define and redefine a genre created to define and redefine. So it goes without saying that Modern Women is a pretty metaphysical literary and artistic experience.
Wif-pdx (Women in Film-Portland, natch) is part activist organization, part information network, and part event sponsor. This very week, for example, they are joining up with NW Documentaries, another kick-ass grassroots film center in Portland, to screen an as-yet-unfinished documentary called Austin Unbound. And if you're in town, I think you should go see it.