Women And The Arts: Dialogues In Female Creativity by Diana V. Almeida


385627a5af2bf18.jpg Author Diana V. Almeida
Isbn 978-3034310727
File size 6 MB
Year 2013
Pages 227
Language English
File format PDF
Category art


 

This collection brings together twelve essays that tackle the nexus between gender, literature, and the visual arts. While it provides a philosophical and theoretical background for some of the factors that shape female creativity, it also considers the contributions of particular writers and artists from the late 17th century to the contemporary scene. Mostly focusing on the U.S. context, the articles anthologized here further establish a dialogue with other cultural backgrounds, offering the reader a wider perspective of networks of women artists in several countries. The anthology is grounded in Gender Studies while adopting a transdisciplinary approach that combines a series of theoretical frameworks active in the contemporary academic context, such as ecocriticism, comparative literature, and postcolonial studies. Diana V. Almeida has completed her MA and her PhD in U.S. Literature and Culture at the University of Lisbon, where she is now developing a post-doctoral project on the representations of corporeality in the works of two poets and two contemporary photographers. She has taught at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon since 2007 and is a full member of ULICES (University of Lisbon Center for English Studies). She is a practicing photographer. Diana V. Almeida (ed.) Women and the Arts Diana V. Almeida (ed.) www.peterlang.com Women and the Arts: Dialogues in Female Creativity Women and the Arts Diana V. Almeida (ed.) Women and the Arts: Dialogues in Female Creativity PETER LANG "ERNs"ERLINs"RUXELLESs&RANKFURTAM-AINs.EW9ORKs/XFORDs7IEN Bibliographic information published by die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek $IE$EUTSCHE.ATIONALBIBLIOTHEKLISTSTHISPUBLICATIONINTHE$EUTSCHE .ATIONALBIBLIOGRAlEDETAILEDBIBLIOGRAPHICDATAISAVAILABLEONTHE )NTERNETATjHTTPDNBD NBDEk "RITISH,IBRARY#ATALOGUING IN 0UBLICATION$ATA!CATALOGUERECORDFOR THISBOOKISAVAILABLEFROM4HE"RITISH,IBRARY 'REAT"RITAIN ,IBRARYOF#ONGRESS#ATALOGING IN 0UBLICATION$ATA 7OMENANDTHE!RTS$IALOGUESIN&EMALE#REATIVITYINTHE53AND "EYOND#ONFERENCE 5NIVERSIDADEDE,ISBOA 7OMENANDTHE!RTS$IALOGUESIN&EMALE#REATIVITY Diana V. Almeida (ed.). – 1 [edition]. PAGESCM )3".     7OMENANDTHEARTSn #ONGRESSES)!LMEIDA $IANA6  EDITOROFCOMPILATION))4ITLE .877 @nDC  2EVISION%LSA-AUR¤CIO#HILDS 4HEPHOTOGRAPHUSEDONTHECOVERWASTAKENIN4RONDHEIM IN3EPTEMBER BY$IANA6!LMEIDA WHOSEVISUALWORK YOUMAYSEEATARODAEMRODABLOGSPOTPT )3".    PB )3".    E"OOK © Peter Lang AG, International Academic Publishers, Bern 2013 (OCHFELDSTRASSE #( "ERN 3WITZERLAND INFO PETERLANGCOM WWWPETERLANGCOM All rights reserved. !LLPARTSOFTHISPUBLICATIONAREPROTECTEDBYCOPYRIGHT !NYUTILISATIONOUTSIDETHESTRICTLIMITSOFTHECOPYRIGHTLAW WITHOUT THEPERMISSIONOFTHEPUBLISHER ISFORBIDDENANDLIABLETOPROSECUTION 4HISAPPLIESINPARTICULARTOREPRODUCTIONS TRANSLATIONS MICROlLMING ANDSTORAGEANDPROCESSINGINELECTRONICRETRIEVALSYSTEMS 0RINTEDIN3WITZERLAND Table of Contents Foreword, Diana V. Almeida 7 I. The State of the Art CHRISTINE BATTERSBY ‘By a Woman Wrought’: Do We/Should We Still Care? 15 MÁRCIA OLIVEIRA From Practice to Theory: The Ontological Turn in 1970s Feminist Art 33 II. Photography at the Crossroads SUSANA M. COSTA Gertrude Käsebier – ‘Lady Amateur’ or ‘Advanced Photographer’? The Case of the Tea Party with the Sioux 55 ELISABETE LOPES Francesca Woodman’s Journey into the Gothic Wonderland 71 ANA RAQUEL FERNANDES AND DANIELA GARCIA From D’Aulnoy to Rego and Sherman: Fairy-Tales Revisited 85 III. Visual Arts in Context TERESA BOTELHO Finding an Aesthetic of Her Own: Partnering Identities in the Work of Faith Ringgold 109 GUISELA LATORRE Mestiza Aesthetics: Anzalduan Theories on Visual Arts and Creativity 125 IV. Lyrical Dialogues MONICA PAVANI In the Skin of Another: Rainer Maria Rilke’s, Anne Michaels’ and Sujata Bhatt’s Poems as Embodiments of Paula ModersohnBecker’s Life and Art 147 JEFFREY CHILDS Family Resemblances: Elizabeth Bishop and Mark Strand 171 MARTA SOARES ‘I Know It Hurts to Burn’: Adrienne Rich’s Body in Pain 179 V. Narrative Strategies ISABEL FERNANDES ALVES Jamaica Kincaid’s Garden of Words 195 ISABEL OLIVEIRA MARTINS Landscapes of Change: Annie Proulx’s Representation of the American West 211 Contributors 225  DIANA V. ALMEIDA Foreword The texts gathered in this volume were originally presented at the international conference Women and the Arts: Dialogues in Female Creativity in the U.S. and Beyond, co-organized by Paula Elyseu Mesquita and myself in the context of our American Studies research group at ULICES (University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies). This three-day event took place at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon in June 2011, and promoted a transdisciplinary debate on women’s artistic production covering multiple areas, which included literature, the visual arts, music, and the performing arts. With the participation of scholars from several continents and of the plenary speakers Christine Battersby, Sandra M. Gilbert, and Edward LucieSmith, we debated women’s aesthetic expression in diversified fields, from modernity to the present age, and reflected on the specific conditions of production, circulation, and reception of their works. Furthermore, we organized several activities involving the local community, such as a debate with contemporary Portuguese women artists, a workshop with storytellers, a poetry recital with texts from Anglophone women poets from the nineteenth century onwards, and an improvisation session (‘The Voice of the Word: Retelling Scheherazade’) included in the Lisbon-based Festival Silêncio [Silence Festival] that since 2009 has been celebrating language in its myriad artistic manifestations. Finally, sponsored by the Rectorate of the University of Lisbon, we animated, for a month, the main hall of the Faculty of Letters (then celebrating its centenary), where we exhibited the monumental artwork Valquíria Enxoval [Valkyrie Trousseau] by Joana Vasconcelos. The conference program also included a one-hour documentary that described the collaborative process of the creation of this art piece, which sought to recover a tradition of the Portuguese Nisa Municipality in which local women started embroidering their trousseaus as children to sell them before their marriage, so that they could help to support the new family. 8 Foreword I believe it is important to evoke this background in order to understand the diversity of the contributions gathered here under the same title and the fact that they are mostly centered in U.S. literary and artistic contexts. In the long editing process, the authors have had the opportunity to rewrite their presentations and enrich them in theoretical terms, as usual in these cases, and also to obtain permission to reproduce some images that enrich the texts and help to develop a useful reading dynamics. The volume is divided into five sections, which facilitates access to the contents of each and places the twelve essays collected here in similar interpretative frameworks, suggesting particular paths for engaging in a dialogue with these texts. I am well aware that all divisions are subjective and fallible, and that many other approaches would have been possible, including organizing the articles alphabetically by their authors’ names. And I am equally sure that readers will enjoy building their own logical and imaginative maps, after having travelled through the whole book using these tentative guidelines. The first section, entitled ‘The State of the Art,’ provides a philosophical and theoretical approach to problems of gender and creative identity and to epistemological questions concerning the conceptualization of art produced by women. In ‘“By a Woman Wrought”: Do We/Should We Still Care?,’ Christine Battersby searches for a feminist metaphysics that may be operative in the contemporary world, where notions of gender and personhood clearly do not fit the binary opposition that still bounds the French poststructuralist and psychoanalytic authors, such as Cixious, Irigaray and Kristeva. Revising Toril Moi in the light of the Western philosophical tradition, Battersby argues that, in order to consider the ‘singularity’ of ‘female artistic production’ and articulate a more fluid and relational model of subjectivity, the debate about identity should include five features: natality, physiological dependence, pregnant embodiment, fleshiness, and cognitive dislocation. In ‘From Practice to Theory: The Ontological Turn in 1970s Feminist Art,’ Márcia Oliveira establishes a parallelism between U.S. feminist art in the early 1970s, in particular the Womanhouse project, coordinated by Judy Chicago and Miriam Shapiro, and the work of several Portuguese woman artists during the same period, such as Túlia Saldanha, Ana Vieira, Ana Hatherly, and Helena Almeida. 9 Diana V. Almeida Oliveira claims that the feminist practice has been paramount to the reconceptualization of the visual arts that took place in the late twentieth century, through its use of interactive mediums (performance and installation directly engaged the spectator and revised notions of spatiality and corporeality, for instance) and the recurrent questioning of identity politics. ‘Photography at the Crossroads’ includes three essays that cover a wide chronological period, going from one of the woman pioneers in this artistic field to a very talented artist whose premature death condemned her work to obscurity for a period, and lastly centering on one of the most critically acclaimed contemporary woman photographers. In ‘Gertrude Käsebier – “Lady Amateur” or “Advanced Photographer”? The Case of the Tea Party with the Sioux,’ Susana M. Costa discusses Käsebier’s professional status and analyses the series of prints known as Indian Portraits, comparing them with other depictions of racial alterity by U.S. artists. Costa suggests that the photographer used her studio as a liminal space that allowed for a cross-cultural negotiation of her own identity as a woman artist and the complex identities of her guest-sitters, who were empowered as subjects partly in control of the process of image making. In ‘Francesca Woodman’s Journey into the Gothic Wonderland,’ Elisabete Lopes presents the photographer’s Gothic strategies for rewriting gender identity through the use of female ‘ghosts’ who threaten the customary association of women with the domestic space and are able to cross the boundaries of life and death, redefining identity as a dynamic process. Lopes also points out intertextual echoes between Woodman’s work and the literary universe, in particular some fairy tale figures (Sleeping Beauty, for example) and major characters of children’s literature (such as Lewis Carroll’s Alice). In the next essay Ana Raquel Fernandes and Daniela Garcia go back to the seventeenth century male-dominated literary world of the salons where the ‘conteuses’ reclaimed creative agency by rewriting traditional fairy tales. ‘From D’Aulnoy to Rego and Sherman: Fairy-Tales Revisited’ highlights a cross-fertilization between these early literary versions of the genre and the visual arts, in Paula Rego’s illustrations of ‘La chatte blanche’ [The White Cat], and further proposes a dialogue between this type of text and some of Cindy Sherman’s photographs that explore the abject and the uncanny. 10 Foreword Centering on women artists from different ethnic backgrounds, the third section, ‘Visual Arts in Context,’ surveys the plurality of identities in the U.S. and its impact on specific expressive languages. In ‘Finding an Aesthetic of Her Own: Partnering Identities in the Work of Faith Ringgold,’ Teresa Botelho traces the evolution of Ringgold’s artistic production from the early 1960s to her quilt series produced two decades later. Botelho maintains that the artist’s creative identity was predominantly shaped by a gender allegiance that resisted the racialized anthropocentric essentialist stance prevalent in the cultural domain of mainly male black artists. In ‘Mestiza Aesthetics: Anzalduan Theories on Visual Arts and Creativity,’ Guisela Latorre analyses Gloria Anzaldua’s art criticism and drawings, which destabilize the distinctions between the verbal and the visual realms, the theoretical and the artistic fields. Dwelling on Anzaldua’s concepts of artistic inspiration and interconnectedness, Latorre considers the work of some contemporary Chicana and Latina artists (Yreina Cervántez and Liliana Wilson) that represent a nepantla [liminal] state where hyphenized identities can better express themselves, using art as a political tool. The following section, ‘Lyrical Dialogues,’ centers on poetical texts articulated upon a matrix of intertextual allusions to other authors or to political circumstances that shape their reading. ‘In the Skin of Another: Rainer Maria Rilke’s, Anne Michael’s and Sujata Bhatt’s Poems as Embodiments of Paula Modersohn-Becker’s Life and Art’ contrasts Rilke’s Requiem for his painter friend, which expressed his modernist belief in art as an absolute exclusionary call, with Anne Michael’s and Sujata Bhatt’s writings, which present the German painter involved in a spiritual and emotional quest that had full expression in the large body of work she produced. Monica Pavani defends that Paula ModersohnBecker’s biographical experience illustrates the tensions faced by early woman artists, caught between the hegemonic idea of the secluded genius and their beliefs in the intersubjective roots of creativity. In ‘Family Resemblances: Elizabeth Bishop and Mark Strand,’ Jeffrey Childs presents a philosophical reflection on the categories of identity and belonging, applied to the analysis of Bishop’s influence on Strand’s poetical work and critical writing, tracing an encounter with the foreignness of the familiar that leads from the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop and Carlos Drummond de Andrade to Strand’s discussion of the connections between poetry and photography. In ‘“I Know It Hurts to 11 Diana V. Almeida Burn”: Adrienne Rich’s Body in Pain,’ Marta Soares also problematizes the boundaries of identity, presenting pain as a shared trait of vulnerability that allows Rich to expand the limits of self and to connect emphatically with others who suffer. Soares underlines that the phenomenology of the sick body cuts through gender, racial, and social lines, and also comes to represent the U.S. imperialist politics that Rich repeatedly criticized throughout her career. The last section pinpoints some ‘Narrative Strategies’ that contemporary U.S. writers use to negotiate identity in a multicultural world where master narratives of imperialistic hegemony no longer hold. In ‘Jamaica Kincaid’s Garden of Words,’ Isabel Fernandes Alves investigates the prolific meanings attached to gardening in Kincaid’s My Garden (Book):, ranging from its correlation with textuality (the process of reading and writing and also the literary tradition) to its autobiographical implications. Alves alleges that the maintenance of a garden and the reflection inspired by this practice allows the U.S. and Antiguan writer to deal with the experience of colonization, resisting deterritorialization and asserting her creativity. In ‘Landscapes of Change: Annie Proulx’s Representation of the American West,’ Isabel Oliveira Martins considers two short stories included in Proulx’s trilogy of anthologies set in Wyoming, known as the ‘Cowboy State.’ In light of the mythological connotations of the West in U.S. culture, Martins underlines how the trope of the frontier, still productive in contemporary political discourse, is doomed in this fictional landscape, where individual identity is torn between nostalgia and a dystopic present. I want to thank Paula Elyseu Mesquita for her precious help during the first phase of this work, Elsa Maurício Childs for her thorough and insightful revision of the whole book, and the staff at Peter Lang, especially Raffael von Niederhäusern, for their patience and assistance throughout the editorial process. I also want to recognize the institutional support of FCT (the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) and ULICES, namely through Professors Teresa F. A. Alves and Teresa Cid (the Conference Directors) and Professor Isabel Fernandes (ULICES’s Director). Lisbon, January 2013. I. State of the Art CHRISTINE BATTERSBY By a Woman Wrought: Do We/Should We Still Care? These days one can hardly take an architectural tour of Chicago without it being pointed out that the towering Aqua skyscraper on the horizon not only has ‘feminine’ characteristics, it is also the tallest skyscraper to have been built anywhere in the world by a woman – Jeanne Gang. ‘And that’s one in the eye for men!’ our (male) architecture guide added, with obvious admiration for the designer who made each feature of the building contextual, unique and also wave-like and ‘organic.’ The mantra was repeated some days later by a second guide (this time female) – although this time what was emphasised was Jeanne’s Gang’s openness to clients and her refreshing lack of machismo in explaining and justifying her designs. Contrast this scenario of September 2010 with the article by Toril Moi which was published in Eurozine in the summer of the previous year. Moi’s article starts by posing the following question: ‘Why is the question of women and writing such a marginal topic in feminist theory today?’ (‘I am not a Woman Writer’ 1). As both the title and the text of the article make clear, Moi is concentrating on questions to do with writing and literary theory, and the tone of the essay conveys a kind of nostalgia for the heady days of the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s when questions about women’s writing were not only prevalent in popular culture, but also a respectable topic for academic debate. Moi focuses on works that are ‘by a woman writ,’ not on non-literary works that are ‘by a woman wrought.’ Nevertheless, Moi indicates that her analysis is also probably applicable to all discussions about artistic output in twenty-first century academia: The decline of interest in literature is all the more striking given its central importance in the early years of feminist theory. Although I shall only speak about literature, I think it is likely that the loss of interest in literature is symptomatic of a 16 Christine Battersby more wide-ranging loss of interest in questions relating to women and aesthetics and women and creativity within feminist theory. (1) In this essay I will consider some of the details of Moi’s analysis, focusing on a phrase that Moi uses in passing when she remarks on the frustration that many women authors feel when they are told they ‘write as a woman or like a woman’ (7). I will distinguish between writing or creating like a woman (what I will term ‘feminine’ creativity) and writing or creating as a woman (what I will term ‘female’ creativity), and argue for the importance of keeping these two issues separate. However, I will start by emphasising how uneven is the advance made by women in the creative arts and industries since the 1980s when discussion of sexed creativity was a dominant feature of academic debate. The relative lack of progress of women in architecture is evident from the way that my Chicago guides felt it incumbent upon them to comment on the gender of Jeanne Gang – as well as from the fact that barely another female name was mentioned as an architect (as opposed to a patron, wife, muse or mistress) in the dozen or so architectural tours of Chicago that I followed. By contrast, in painting and, to some extent, in sculpture there has undoubtedly been an improvement in the position of women since my Gender and Genius was published in 1989. However, in the fine arts generally women artists still have not received the same institutional recognition as their male counterparts. Furthermore, in the digital and computer arts women creators remain a rarity – as they do also in musical composition, screenwriting and playwriting. Thus, it was not until 2008 – or arguably, if adaptations are included, 2005 – that a living woman playwright had a play performed on the main stage of the National Theatre in London (Fisher; ‘Corrections’). In either case, it is surprising that no plays by a living woman had previously featured on the main stage since 1963 when the National Theatre was inaugurated. In the United States the position of women playwrights also still lags behind that of the men. Thus, in 2009 Emily Sands sought to analyse why only one in eight Broadway productions involves a work written by a woman, even though by some calculations the female authors’ shows are in general more commercially successful than those of the men. Theatre professionals were sent a set of scripts, and asked to rank them in terms of their quality, their economic prospects and also the ‘By a Woman Wrought’: Do We/Should We Still Care? 17 likely audience response. The sexual identity of the authors of the scripts had been reallocated, but it was those bearing the name of a female author which received a significantly lower grading than identical scripts which were signed with a male name (Sands). And, what is more surprising, the lower ranking was entirely due to the responses of the women professionals who were acting as assessors. Sands argued (85) that this was probably because female theatre professionals are more likely to be aware that plays by women need to be of a higher standard than of those of the men if they are to get staged. This remains merely a hypothesis, however, and one that has triggered lively debate (Rothstein). On the surface at least, the position is far more rosy in other fields of literature – so much so that there is now a degree of impatience expressed for women-only literary prizes (such as the Orange Prize for Fiction, founded 1996). However, VIDA, a US organisation set up in 2009 to address the critical neglect of women writers, provided in 2010 a statistical count which showed that, in the US, reviews of fiction and poems by male writers in prestigious literary magazines outnumber those by women by almost 3:1. In the UK the situation is no better, with 74% of the books featured in both the London Review of Books and The Times Literary Supplement being by men. In a way that differs sharply from Sands’ study of female playwrights, what is particularly striking in the VIDA pie charts is the strong match between the number (or paucity) of women reviewers for each of the journals and the gender breakdown of the total of authors reviewed in that journal (see Image 1). Women writers are also still a rarity in a variety of literary genres which are not covered by the VIDA statistics. In philosophy, for example, women philosophers are by no means the norm, and the question of why this is the case continues to cause controversy, as does the question about what is distinctive about the type of philosophy that women have excelled in or are likely to prefer (‘Where Have all’; Baggini). Interestingly, in her Eurozine article, Moi identifies the influence of Judith Butler’s theory of performativity as one of the two main causes for the loss of interest in issues relating to sexed creativity amongst feminist literary theorists, claiming – somewhat dismissively – that Butler is ‘a philosopher who with a couple of minor exceptions has never discussed literature’ (‘I am not a Woman Writer’ 5). However, whereas the influence of Butler and her lack of detailed engagement with 18 Christine Battersby literary texts is unquestionable, Butler herself is not in a philosophy department – and in some of her most recent works (2004) has explored her own feelings of exclusion from the discipline of philosophy (which provided her with her graduate and undergraduate training). Indeed, Butler has herself been housed for most her quite astonishing academic career between the Departments of Rhetoric and of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. In some ways the position of women in philosophy seems to be a special case; but it’s certainly not the only subject in which feminist theorists have felt themselves excluded from within the boundaries of a discipline and found themselves constrained to write or speak from an ‘interdisciplinary’ perspective that has rendered them homeless. And this means with the move ‘beyond theory’ and the increasing professionalization of academia that has occurred in North American, British and Australian universities in the twenty-first century, feminist theorists have found themselves vulnerable. In the UK feminism is flourishing again outside the academy (McCabe), but feminist theorists within the universities are suffering a double loss of institutional – and also political – power. All of this means that we need to turn again to the question raised in Moi’s article: why is the question of the sexed identity of writers no longer treated as cutting edge research in Literature Departments? What was there about the way that the questions were framed in the 1970s and 1980s which led to a kind of despair and to disillusionment? As well as the influence of Judith Butler, Moi identifies poststructuralist theory as the other main cause for the decline in interest in female authorship in recent North American literary theory. She argues that it was the influence of Roland Barthes’ theory of ‘The Death of the Author,’ along with the influence of Jacques Derrida’s deconstructionism and Michel Foucault’s ‘radical anti-humanism,’ which provided the ‘first reason why feminist theory fell silent on the question of women and writing’: Feminists who wanted to work on women writers at the same time as they were convinced that Barthes, Derrida and Foucault were right, began to wonder whether it really mattered whether the author was a woman. In the United States, the tensions involved in this position were expressed in a landmark debate between Peggy Kamuf and Nancy Miller about the status of the female author. (‘I am not a Woman Writer’ 3)

Author Diana V. Almeida Isbn 978-3034310727 File size 6 MB Year 2013 Pages 227 Language English File format PDF Category Art Book Description: FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrDiggMySpaceShare This collection brings together twelve essays that tackle the nexus between gender, literature, and the visual arts. While it provides a philosophical and theoretical background for some of the factors that shape female creativity, it also considers the contributions of particular writers and artists from the late 17th century to the contemporary scene. Mostly focusing on the U.S. context, the articles anthologized here further establish a dialogue with other cultural backgrounds, offering the reader a wider perspective of networks of women artists in several countries. The anthology is grounded in Gender Studies while adopting a transdisciplinary approach that combines a series of theoretical frameworks active in the contemporary academic context, such as ecocriticism, comparative literature, and postcolonial studies.     Download (6 MB) Assigning Cultural Values Francis Bacon: Critical and Theoretical Perspectives Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology New Perspectives On Mary Elizabeth Braddon (dqr Studies In Literature) Art, Creativity, and Psychoanalysis: Perspectives from Analyst-Artists Load more posts

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