Thursday, April 29, 2010

Where Are The Famous Female Artists? know, I was thinking of role models the other day and it occurred to me, that other than one single female artist (Emily Carr),  all of my 'role models' are male!

I realize that up until the last couple of centuries, we have lived in totally male dominated society, which would explain the lack of famous female visual artists... But it's been a couple of hundred years here where women have been making inroads on equality, and still, I really haven't seen any larger than life genre defining women appear on the horizons. 

I've been discussing this from time to time with my writer friend and she has many theories as to why.'ve even read a book about different types of societies and how humanity seemed to have started with something more equal, not a male dominated society, back in the days of Crete

The book was called the 'The Chalice and the Blade' by Riane Eisler, and it was pretty dry, but very, very interesting...  Ms. Eilser advanced the theory that early societies in human history were based on Goddess worship rather than focusing on a male God.  This led to less warlike tendencies, greater harmony between the sexes and also with nature... She went on to mention how our archeological history was slanted to give credit to males while discrediting, misinterpreting or dismissing female accomplishments found in historical artifacts.  This was a natural tendency as the bulk of archeologists were men and historically, women were not really thought to matter. 
I'm pretty glad that society has changed, I know I didn't enjoy growing up in the seventies with my mother harping at me to become a housewife and stop having so many opinions! for Ms. Eisler's theory, light of how western society has worked in the past, it makes a lot of sense.  I've noticed that history has a way of highlighting male accomplishments while just leaving out the women.  It's a definite void in history, it's like we are missing half of our background!

I wonder if there were more female visual artists that were just left out, overlooked?  It would be interesting to try to collect them and get a more detailed picture of how art evolved over time...
On the other hand, I'm going to be the devil's advocate here and hypothesize that we may have done some of this to ourselves...  Women have been socialized to be modest and self effacing... That type of approach would certainly lead to women not putting themselves forward to create new art movements. 

In fact, one of the things I was taken to task on by my rather traditional mother was my lack of modesty about my artwork... I figured that if I didn't like my own work and put it forward, certainly nobody else would do it for me!  I've noticed that people that stand back and wait for others to notice their merits tend to be left standing on the sidelines...

I've never been that good at waiting for things, and blending into the crowd on the sidelines sounds like a special kind of feminine torture to me... So I think I'll just carry on with being myself and let my mother rest with her traditions back in the last century!

But I still think it would be nice to have some more famous female artists out there...  Hmmm... Maybe I could help fill that void someday!

References:  Eisler, Riane. 1989. The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future. Harper & Row. New York.

Paintings by Teresa Young, photograph of Teresa Young by Nina Munteanu.
1. Undercurrents - Mar.2009,  2. Central Viewpoint - Aug.2009,  3. Near The Edge of Reason - Sept.2009,  4. Halo - May.2001.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Would Intelligent Aliens Wipe Us Out?

I can see his point, I've read tons of science fiction over the years, and the most realistic stories involving alien contact always ended up with human nature getting in the way and causing all sorts of problems.  I saw District 9 last year, and it really tackled that question, it was an uncomfortable movie to watch, but it was riveting, that's for sure!

There's no reason to not assume that whatever 'alien nature' turns out to be, it could have a dark side that wouldn't bode well for the human race!
He compares humanity meeting an alien race to the coming of Columbus to North America...  An exploitation of the resources with no regard for the people that are already in residence.  If you stop and think about it, we've been getting this message quite a bit through the decades, in one form or another....  The problem here is that we can't step outside of ourselves and project our motivations onto the external.  Meaning that we think aliens would react as we would react in a first contact situation, and human nature takes over and it's downhill from there.

If you've ever read Robert J. Sawyer's novel 'Calculating God', he tackles that perspective issue elegantly.  He proposes that humans could not conceive of the motives of aliens.  They'd be as alien to our thinking as their physical bodies are to our perceptions! 

I think Hawkings is right though, we do send out a lot of information, some on purpose, but the bulk of it isn't on purpose. would stop anything that was technologically advanced from tapping into our broadcasts?  And the next question that comes to my mind is what kind of picture do we paint of ourselves with what is sitting on the airwaves? 

Probably a pretty accurate one when you get right down to it.  I hate to say that, but your character is always most exposed when you are unaware you have an audience.  An even more accurate study into human nature at it's basest could be done when you are under stress, this would probably make 'Survivor' very educational for aliens!  With all of the 'reality TV' that's popular programming now, it would definitely give them a widely diverse picture of humanity. the underlying problem here is that cheerful things, things that don't reflect the darker sides of humanity, just don't make interesting viewing or reading.  It would probably leave out our lighter side if TV and video was used exclusively to build a picture of humans...

Mind you, if they swallowed our entertainment media as the truth, it could ultimately work in humanity's favour!  Just think, we could seem to have paranormal powers, extremely advanced technology, and other way-out things that would make us intimidating to invade.  Hopefully, it would scare them away and Hawkings would never be proved right!

Then we wouldn't be wiped out after all.  Saved by the junk on TV, how ironic!

Art Images by Teresa Young:
1. Stained Glass Entity - Mar.2009,  2. Under The Surface - Jun.2009,  3. SF Girl - Jan.2008,  4. Force One - Jul.2001.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More Artwork, Another Exhibition and a Volcano In Iceland have I been doing for the couple of weeks?  I just noticed I haven't posted since the 8th of April, and it makes me stop and think about that.

Well, I've been painting a lot and if I'm painting I don't seem to be able to switch gears and write. didn't want to destroy my momentum with the artwork, so I went with the flow to get the benefit of the higher than normal output.

Since I don't have any earth shattering opinions to mull over or profound observations, I thought I'd just do a post about my current artworks and about my friend the writer being stuck in Switzerland.

I've also just been notified that some of my pieces were accepted into another on-line exhibition!  The show is called Ultraviolence and is online now.  The show is about the violence inherent everywhere I believe.  The link to my work is here  click here(The previous exhibition I blogged about this month is still online, if you want to take a look.)
The first piece in my submissions is my gagged lady...  The name of the piece is The Wheels Are Turning and it was really an expression of my frustration at my last IT job.  I felt the politics swirling around me, and felt that I had very little say in things that directly affected me. An old story with an IT corporate type of job, I had seen a number of close friends get downsized over the years, so that only added to my feelings of powerlessness and frustration.

I took back control of my destiny by resigning my position and moving to the east coast of Canada.

Whatever happens to me in the future, I believe it was the healthiest choice I've ever made, because once you get stuck in a corner (much like a floor painter painting themselves into no escape!), you can feel like your are slowly dying if you aren't careful. thing that I've been working on is more glass painting, I've started trying to work on free standing glass works that can be put in windows for display. 

This is much more viable for me as I rent, I don't own a house and I'd like to have portable examples of the glassworks.  Take a look at my first stab at this, the piece isn't quite finished, but it's very pretty and can be moved.  Unfortunately, the photos still don't do them justice, my on-going struggle to capture the beauty of the glass work continues, slight improvements, but I'm still not getting the full effect. most interesting turn of events recently is the volcano in Iceland.  My writer friend has been stuck in Switzerland for four extra days now and counting.  I believe she's going to blog about this one, she's right out there on the front lines!  She was at a conference in Zurich on the world economy and altruism and she met the Dalai Lama.  She had a great and interesting time and decided to stick around an extra few days to see the sights.  Well that didn't work out so great as we are all aware, because the volcano erupted the day before her flight out of Zurich. aerial photo shows a plume of ash rising from the volcano in southern Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull glacier, Monday. While the volcanic ash cloud covering parts of Europe continues to wreak havoc for airlines, grounding most of the continent's air travel for several days has had a ripple effect extending far beyond Europe's borders. (AP Photo/Jon Gustafsson)
Anyway, she is still trying to get back to North America and not having much luck.  At least some of the hotels in Europe have cut their rates considerable to try to help out the stranded travelers!
Images (all paintings by Teresa Young):
1. Mystic Dragon - 6 Apr.10,  2. Reclining Reflections - 24 Mar.10,  3. Unnamed abstract - 17 Apr.10,  4. Unnamed Abstract - circular - 7 Apr.10,  5. Unnamed abstract - 7 Apr.10,  6.  Chocolate Rhymes - 18 Apr.10,  7. Unnamed Abstract - circular - 14 Apr.10,  8. Another Unnamed abstract - 17 Apr.10,  9. The Wheels Are Turning - 6 Mar.09,  10. Unfinished Painted Glass - 20 Apr.10,  11. Unnamed Abstract - 14 Apr.10.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Learning To Paint On Glass the years, I've dabbled in a lot of mediums and foundations to create artworks.  I've painted jewelry boxes, candles, wood of all sorts, lecture stands, jackets, motorcycles and even lamps! (I learned how to use an airbrush to paint a motorcycle, it was a lot of fun.)

When I bought a house seven years ago, the front foyer window had this horrible painting of bluebirds on it that were rendered by an amateur using a media I had never seen before. 

It was painted over the double paned window with a plastic semi-opaque paint that gave the appearance of stained glass.  Or tried to...
This was something I sat down and thought about, and I realized that not only did I want to remove the offending 'artwork' on the entrance-way window in my new house, but I wanted to do it again myself. Properly.

It seems to me that this medium has a lot of promise to it.  It doesn't suffer from some of the limitations of stained glasswork but it gives a similar effect.  The glass doesn't have to be cut, meaning you can include a lot of details that are possible in traditional glasswork.  It's really 'glass painting' as opposed to stained glass art, and it can be done for a fraction of the cost.  And it wouldn't look cheap if you did it right.

After physically removing the old 'artwork', I set out to find out about my new prospective medium by looking on the internet and checking out art and craft stores.  I found out that it's used mostly to create suncatchers and to create fake stained glass pieces on mirrors and windows (in a limited way)...  By fake stain glass, I mean that the craftperson doing the work will use a pattern that simulates a stained glass pattern and follow it as closely as possible...  This really wasn't what I had in mind for me!
I've never been good at following someone else's patterns, my first painting at eight years old was in oils and I used the paints from a paint by numbers kit my aunt had given me to do something original... No copying for me!

So I bought some of the paint and blanks (wax paperlike plastic sheets) to practice on so that I could get a feel for the limitations and also figure out what I could do with it.  I found that it dries quickly, but takes a day to clear out to the final colour.  Meaning you can't see what colours you are really working with at the time you do the piece.  This just makes it more challenging! tried out my abstract, pattern based pen drawing as 'patterns' to see how they would look, and I was delighted with results. 

I'm a pretty prolific and quick artist, so I can create some pieces quite quickly.  The new medium and it's drying limitations slowed me down immensely.  And I found that I needed more strength in my hands to get a straight line, maybe the person who did the original work on the window was fighting this when they got the wavy lines on the bluejays...

To combat the lack of details in the lines, I bought more attachments for the simulated leading bottle I was using to apply the under-drawing to get finer control.  It helped, but it slowed down the process even more. 

This couldn't be helped, I wanted to be able to do the artwork to my normal standards and I wasn't going to cop out even if it meant way more work.

I also found out that the paint runs and clumps, so I had to be careful about the amount I applied to keep it from clumping up.  Even more unexpected, if I didn't run a toothpick through it after each colour was applied, it would bubble and that didn't look desirable at all., I felt confident I could start on my 'new' window, I prepared it carefully so that the paint would adhere and I created many sheets of predried leading lines that I could apply to the window and anchors with wet leading as I did the work. 

First I had drawn a beautiful abstract pattern that I applied to the window to follow.

As I progressed, I found that the four foot by eighteen inches wide window ended up taking me a hundred hours or more to research, practice and paint.  The actual piece itself took over fifty hours!  Not a quick medium to work in, but it certainly gave me a unique result I was proud of.

I painted the window you see here in late 2005 and it never faded or chipped.  It was sold with my house last year and from the response I've seen to the piece over the years, I would say that people really like it....

So I've decided to give it another go and I've started on some new windows! the landlord at the house I'm renting was all for the idea of me painting a few windows to practice the artform, I decided it was a great opportunity to refine the process.

I've started on new windows here, and unfortunately, it's really hard to photograph them well enough to get the full effect of the artwork.  The light from behind the window tends to skew the metering so you end up with a sillouhette effect which tones down the details.

On these new windows, I found that working with glass paint told me how much older I had gotten in the last six years.  My hand shook even more and I had to take it very slow to get the result I wanted.  But it was worth it, I've finished the left three windows and I'm working on the right side to pull the viewers eye over the left windows.  Sort of a flow of expression, it's working out quite well, even though I haven't finished the windows yet, it's given a beautiful result!

I even bought a digital SLR camera to improve the quality of my photos of them!

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Art by Teresa Young Chosen For Projekt30 April 2010 Exhibition

I just discovered that I was selected to be one of thirty artists featured in the April 2010 Projeckt30 online exhibition.
Projekt30 is an online gallery designed to connect artists with "brick and mortar" art galleries interested in representing them, as well as art dealers and collectors currently unaware of their work. They host thirty-artist juried exhibitions each month, as well as special theme exhibitions several times a year.
These juried exhibitions showcase to a large number of galleries all over the world. Their "public jury" system provides a concentrated, quality-controlled survey of artists work. Artists appearing in their exhibitions have received thousands of favorable ratings from individuals occupying a diverse spectrum of stations in the arts community.
This particular exhibition includes beautiful digital photography, 3D art and artworks from artists Kevin Veara, Ron Swartz, Will Kurtz, Julie Lucus, Hyunju Jung, and others. A majority of the artworks are for sale and the prices for non-photos range from four or five hundred up into the thousands.
Blue Emotions by Teresa Young
I entered ten paintings into the competition and I'd like to talk a bit about some of them here before including a link to the exhibition for anyone interested in viewing it.
An acrylic media with glued on shells that have the shell patterns echoed in the design within the painting itself.
After a holiday along the Oregon coast I wanted to express the beauty of what I saw as I stopped and explored the beautiful seashores.
The Genesis of Intellect
 by Teresa Young
The Genesis of Intellect,  12" x 9" canvas:
This abstract piece really expresses a feeling, a kernel of self with respect to thought that I wanted to explore within a painting format. 
Really, with a lot of my artwork, it is more of a stream of consciousness process for me that allows me to express my emotions
In the past, I called a lot of my work 'emotional landscapes', and that's really what they are, the environment of my inner being expressed externally.
Feathered Fancy
by Teresa Young
I like this piece mainly for the colours.  It's really light-hearted and has a feathered feel to me, so of course I decided to go for a fun name that would suggest that for the audience. 
Not that I've ever seen a bird quite like this, but it really feels like some old owl or hawk sitting up in a tree looking down at me.
Anyway, the overall link to the exhibition is here:
april PROJEKT30 exhibition  and the link to my part of the exhibition is here:  Teresa Young.

1.  Screenshot of Projekt30 April 2010 Exhibition screen,  2.  Blue Emotions - July 2002,  3.  The Genesis of Intellect - Feb. 2010,  4.  Feathered Fancy - Aug. 2002.