“Vintage” bride, Sheringham 2013.
More photos to come
My article for TYCI, Glasgow. My thoughts about art and Femnism
“Art is the most basic form of visual communication, so it is no wonder that feminist art has a direct and close impact and ability to influence. But what if our perceptions of feminism, and of the naked female body, have changed? Should take a moment to evaluate how this art is perceived today?
Feminism has a proud history, although the word can produce a negative image in the minds of some people today. Historically, the goal of feminist artists was to reclaim the female form as a symbol of authority. However, the dilution of the original message, for some, marks the death of the feminist ideal, despite the fact that there are still strong questions regarding feminism and woman’s liberation today. Because of the progress made by previous generations of feminist artists, many contemporary female artists today might not necessarily feel the responsibility to identify as “feminists” or the need to address the “females’ perspective.” We might even ask ourselves today what still constitutes a contribution to feminist art.
For feminist artists in the 1970s, their goal was to create a place for female artist in the art world. However, it is now easy to get stuck in this place and no longer challenge anything outside. So, feminism and feminists must adapt, otherwise it will be left behind and lose all that the early feminist movement was fighting for. Or, do we believe that female artists can and want only to talk about issues of feminism and the place of the woman? By understanding these traditional values, and allowing us to challenge them, we can re-create the value of female artists’ work. We now have a proud feminist art culture which is able to reflect on its past.
Today artists are increasingly developing a need for new instruments, and new way of thinking of their work. Art can be a link to a new innovation of communication, but we have to, at the same time, re-think how we read the codes and metaphors within it. To some degree, metaphors control how we, the audience, think and govern the action of those who create them. If we are to understand the female body as a metaphor for something other than feminism, we have to re-evaluate and expand these set codes. Feminists may not need to re-brand themselves again, but rather reclaim what they want to achieve. Another thing that has to change is how we read the work of female artists’ that involves the naked body. A lot of performance art has been seen as controversial, mainly because of the exposure of the body in ways that do not only challenge the norm of female beauty but how we read them.
Despite how much women have done in the art world, there is no doubt that the feminist movement today is weakened, disorganised, and often disoriented. This is because the movement itself is full of contradictions and no one knows what it means to be a woman and a feminist in the art world anymore – different generations have dealt with different issues, different terms and used different names. Names such as post-feminist, lipstick feminist and first / second / third wave feminist have all got different definitions of what it means to be a woman in art.
In order to survive and grow, the movement desperately needs to change. These definitions of feminism can contradict each other, creating tension even within the feminist community. This community needs to re-develop an approach because of this miscommunication. In the past, ideas have changed and adapted as the world around them has evolved. So maybe it’s time for us to stop and rethink our preconceived ideas of feminism. Whatever we do, our attitude has to develop so women can have a true space in the art world.”