“i’m gonna pull out my tampon and start splashing around*”


There. Said it. What are you thinking of? Susan B. Anthony? Lesbians in leather? Central Core Imagery? You’re thinking of something. There are few words I’ve found to be more polarizing, especially among artists. Say that you’re a “feminist” making art about What It Means to Be a Woman, and you’re met with uncomfortable shifting, eye-rolls, even assumptions about your sexual orientation or how often you shave your legs.

My local library reminded me a few days ago that March is Women’s History month (thanks library!) with a shelf full of theme-appropriate books. It also reminded me of Ball State’s Nina B. Marshal memorial Women’s Art Show. Every March, the female faculty put on a show with selected female art students. The pieces of work frequently address “womenness” but sometimes don’t. The only garunteed common thread among all the pieces is that each is done by a woman associated with the Ball State Art Department. And, every March comes the chorus of “It’s not fair” and “why don’t we have a men’s show?” to which the answer is always “every show is a man’s show.” Not that there isn’t truth to this. There is. But it just feels like the same argument over and over and over-

Then, one day, I had a conversation with a friend about why she objected to the women’s show-
“I don’t know, I mean, it’s nice on a resume, but aren’t we past that? I’d like to think my work can stand on its own whether I’m a woman or not.”

Are we past it? The art world is still very much an old boys club, and violence, discrimination, condescension  and just general crappiness are still a part of women’s lives everywhere, but really, how many middle-class American white girls have ever been truly oppressed? I’ve been condescended to, talked down to and thought of with low expectations, but not necessarily because of any particular part of anatomy I did or didn’t have.  So while I want to get angry and make art about Being a Woman and a Feminist, because of the INJUSTICE of the past, it just sounds hollow. And Silly. Even to me. And also I don’t really feel all that angry. Just vaguely perturbed and mostly confused.

Thanks to the suggestion of the aformentioned themed library shelf, I recently started reading Simon de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex.** I’ve only finished the introduction so far, but I’ve already decided de Beauvoir knows her shit. After fifteen pages briefly outlining the ways in which women have been thought to be and treated as inferiors, she then stops to caution that

We must not, however, be any less mistrustful of feminists; arguments: very often their attempt to polemicize robs them of all value. If the ‘question of women’ is so trivial, it is because masculine arrogance turned it into a ‘quarrel’;when people quarrel, they no longer reason well. What people have endlessly sought to prove is that woman i s superior, inferior or equal to man…Every argument has its opposite, and both are often misleading. To see clearly, one needs to get out of these ruts; these vague notions of superiority, inferiority and equality that have distorted all discussions must be discarded in order to start anew.”

The generations  of feminists before us ensured we’d be able to vote, wear pants, make decisions about out own bodies and even be taken seriously as artists. Yes, maybe, we are ‘past it.’ So can we retire feminism? Can we tuck it away into history only to be taken out everyonce in a while to be lovingly patted on the head like a crazy old aunt?

Or, maybe, it’s just time to shift feminism’s focus. We’re past it and onto bigger things. While you (reader) and I might be so privileged, we’re a minority. The site Global Issues.org has an entire section on Women’s Rights (or lackthereof) around the world, with depressing facts and quotes like this one, from Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization in 2010,

“Thirty years after the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), many girls and women still do not have equal opportunities to realize rights recognized by law. In many countries, women are not entitled to own property or inherit land. Social exclusion, “honor” killings, female genital mutilation, trafficking, restricted mobility and early marriage among others, deny the right to health to women and girls and increase illness and death throughout the life-course

And even better, is this video of author Isabel Allende’s TEDTalk.

So, Ladies (and gentlemen!), this month (or any month, really), let’s be silly. Let’s be loud, let’s put on make up or shave our heads or both- Let’s cook and clean and write manifestos, let’s be loud, let’s scream Ani Difranco, argue about the meaning of the word ‘feminism’ and burn any undergarments that might be at odds with our political ideals. But most importantly, let’s be grateful these are all options. Let’s educate ourselves about the women who aren’t as lucky and pay it forward.

  • Global Issues – wiki-esque site littered with links to related topics.
  • Madre– NY based organization with projects in countries all over the world. Also a great educational site.
  • AWAKEN, Inc. – Afghan Women and Kids Education and Necessities. Not for profit that works to provide schools, medical facilities and ocupational training to women and kids in Afghanistan. They’re also the charity I’m running for this year, which you can read about over at my other blog, See Sheep Run. Want to feel lazy? Read about Awaken’s fantastic founder, Bibi Barami.

While I’m grateful to pioneer artists like Judy Chicago, who were loud and furious because they were first and had to be, I agree more with my ever-hero Eva Hesse who declared
“The best way to beat discrimination in art is by art. Excellence has no sex”

* Swan Dive.
**Not only is it one of those “you must read this if you have ovaries and a pulse” books I’ve heard about for forever, but I have a weakness for anything French or elegant. And the cover is both)

Upcoming Show- Pattern Play (see? didn’t make it up)

I’ve read and reread the acceptance email (and subsequent letter) from the Living Arts Center about 27 times trying to find the fine print where they tell me “haha, just kidding. we meant we chose yours as the LEAST accepted piece. Seriously. haha!”

But here’s proof!

And can we make this more awesome? How about we add a road trip with two best friends, not seen since Nov, to drop off work to said show? I think we can.


things seen and not heard.

New stuff!

Just finished a few illustrations for a story in Miami University’s literary magazine, Things Heard and Not Seen by Eileen Bordy (gig thanks to my friend Kasey). Unpaid, but a nice bit of exposure and validation. The story itself is full of some great grotesque descriptions, and anxiety.

Work over at Sean’s is on a bit of hiatus, as Sean and Katie spend a few weeks at MassMOCA installing ‘Ruse’. (you can read about it, as well as see some installation photos over on MassMOCA’s blog here). Unfortunately, due to the complications of work,adulthood, rent-paying and an impending family vacation (which I am quite looking forward to) I was unable to go. Qué será. You can’t stay away forever Mr. LeWitt.

Speaking of impending vacation, been trying to get as much done before leaving, putting together some proposals, taking a page from my man Morandi, and working on a monster-image-heavy post to make up for two solid text blocks of self-serving whinging.

turnip study, watercolor.

“Pay For Soup/Build A Fort/Set That On Fire”

Fort is done!*

And everyone lived. And there is to be much merriment in the near future.
But first! Picture blast of the last week or so plus a few of the finished piece.

cubes waiting to be painted. Most notably in this picture, though are the lovely, lovely corner clamps that allowed these to come together in minutes

My first day in the museum, and the first time seeing the big structures. (and an Alvin!)

Sean, mapping out the wall painting

first layer on the wall painting and arch

Sean and Katie adding the final touches to the striping on the wall, plus the arch side that became my focus

Wall painting done. And beautiful (as seen from child-height. All projected patterns were done from low to the ground)

The arch done (fairly.)

Coming together! This was the last view I had before I had to leave for the weekend for birthday festivities in IN.

Speaking of birthday things, check out the sweet early b-day present from my parents- my own drill! (the hole saw's not mine, but looks hilarious on the end of my tiny 12v drill.)

<–and as a bonus, from the people who brought you such riveting cinema as ‘Paint drying on a wall!” and “Waiting for my cat to do that cute thing he never does when other people are around!” it’s…..The exciting flush-trim router bit!!

Pulled together for the preview! Check out the beautiful textiles Emily made and the frankentree, thanks to Zephyr. (photo courtesy of Sean Foley)

By the way, the orange glow you see is solely from the fluorescent paint under each lip. Thanks to the fumes, I'm pretty sure I've lost Math, but it was totally worth it.

Working on the project let me meet some awesome people, learn an INSANE amount of stuff and I can’t wait for the next project. Onwards and upwards Wonder Factory!



*tentatively. Still some final touch ups. The public opening is Jan 1st.

Just Like Honey

Been busy with everything BUT work lately. Sean’s project I’m helping with for the CMA goes up this week-ish, finally getting off arse to try and show work outside my house, one of my best friends is getting married this weekend plus I want to read everything ever written ever.

(Have we made sleep optional yet?)

After making a few rounds to the galleries this past week I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to show work, and how space for interactions are made/legitimized/etc. So far my most promising prospect is a tattoo parlor cum gallery. I keep flashing back to a  year or so ago, when Columbus artist Dina Sherman visited Ball State to talk about her work, specifically the IMA Gallery . Her main topic was how to ‘take over space’ not normally used for art (especially if not used at all).And while yeah, a show in a “real” gallery or museum would be nice, I really like the idea of unexpected encounters with art or at least slightly more unusual arenas in which to start the conversation.

completely unedited picture of the fantastic light we had after that big storm last week.