How do you see yourself – Kitchen Goddess, Diva of Design, Mom’s Taxi, Writer Extraordinaire, Care-Taker?
Artist Haley Hasler paints herself as a strong woman in super-abundant settings usually with children and often with food.
Currently displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, FL, Hasler demonstrates the resurgence of realism with bold strokes on large canvases. It is impossible to miss her exuberance. As she explains on her website, “The self-portrait confronts the viewer with an outward representation of the inner self.” And what an energetic self that must be!
She depicts her figures in fanciful costumes of daily life “balanced at the precipice of chaos” (a quote from the gallery that features her work.) Her paintings may recall life at home for you in days gone by, but I’m guessing on a less-grand scale.
Young girl peeks out from under the tea table while playing a violin as boy (possibly her brother) snoozes or at least pretends to.
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Like Haley Hasler working in the same decade of the 1970s, artist Judy Chicago portrays not just one but 39 women in her famous work displayed in the Brooklyn Museum, NYC. And instead of a single canvas, Ms. Chicago’s installation entitled The Dinner Party features a huge triangular table measuring 48 feet on each of its three sides honoring famous women throughout history, each with a symbolic place setting: a napkin, utensils, goblet and a plate.
Also a part of this installation, on the Heritage Floor of the museum appear white tiles of gilded porcelain inscribed with the names of 999 more notable women. Among these is the name of Sarah Moore Grimké (1792 -1873) an American abolitionist and writer who did extensive public speaking opposing slavery and supporting women’s rights.
Sarah Grimké is one of the dual protagonists in The Invention of Wings (2014), the much acclaimed historical novel by prize-winning author Sue Monk Kidd, who was inspired to write the book (she admits in her Acknowledgements) while viewing Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party installation. Sarah, speaker, writer, and suffragist, helped change the course of American history with her activism.
Sue Monk Kidd’s book with the two main characters, Sarah Grimké and her handmaid Hetty Handful, will be the topic of next week’s blog post. Stand by for action!
Maybe the words Diva, Goddess, Tooth Fairy or Activist don’t come to mind when you think of yourself. But you do have a title whether it’s Sister, Cook, Doctor, Teacher, Grandmother, a combination of the two, or something else entirely.
Tell us yours.