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ACL1001: Reading Contemporary Fiction Lecture 9: The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman.

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Presentation on theme: "ACL1001: Reading Contemporary Fiction Lecture 9: The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman."— Presentation transcript:

1 ACL1001: Reading Contemporary Fiction Lecture 9: The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman

2 Art - the expression or application of creative skill and imagination, especially through a visual medium such as painting or sculpture Aesthetics - a set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty, especially in art (oxfordreference online, 2007)

3 Women and Art History Female artists in 16 th century e.g Artemisia Gentileschi Often their fathers were painters Female painters at this time painted biblical scenes, still lifes, and portraits Their names are not well known; they were overshadowed by male artists

4 Gentileschis Judith Slaying Holofernes

5 Women Artists Today Linda Nochlin (ARTNews, 2007) The problem is to make collectors, museums, and curators who arent really up on things see that there are many great women artists. There are collectors and curators who – out of habit, laziness, or even misogyny – simply dont bother with women. But thats happening less and less frequently as women begin to occupy the most prominent places in the art world as creative artists (pp ).

6 Atwoods Influences Margaret Atwood acknowledges the influence of the following artists in the beginning of Cats Eye Joyce Wieland, Jack Chambers, Charles Pachter, Gail Geltner, Dennis Burton, Louis de Niverville, William Kurelek She also acknowledge the Isaacs Gallery as an influence.

7 Joyce Wieland First woman to have solo exhibition at the Isaacs Gallery, Toronto Her exhibition was met with criticism from her male contemporaries Initial works were abstract geometric shapes. Later she used quilts, constructions, embroidery, cartoons etc. Was preoccupied by disasters, death and loss 1987 – first living female Canadian artist to have a retrospective at the Art Gallery of Toronto (www.cybermuse.gallery.ca)

8 Louis de Niverville (1933-) Worked in Toronto Famous for art works that explored childhood memories Lives and works in Vancouver (www.thecanadianencycopaedia.com)www.thecanadianencycopaedia.com

9 Representations of the Woman as Artist The woman is assertive, unconventional and physically assured whereas the male is sensitive and passive The woman must choose between her womanhood and her work The womans novel contains a sexually conventional foil for the protagonist The woman lacks a muse, whereas the mans is Woman; The womans novel is inevitably radical (Huf, 1983)

10 The Artist in Cats Eye Elaines career as an artist sheds light on the position of female artists in Canada. Art Gallery of Toronto refuses to do Elaines retrospective: Their bias is towards dead, foreign men p. 16 Many of the Canadian artists who influenced Atwood were students at the Ontario College of Art in the 1960s and were based in Toronto. Sub-Versions, a woman-run gallery, is holding the retrospective. Linda Nochlin: Women tend to run alternative spaces or small museum galleries and the like (ARTNews, 2007, p. 116).

11 Women and the Toronto Art Scene – 1960s Mr Hrbvik – art teacher; shows the young female artists the ropes – artistically and sexually. You are an unfinished woman, he adds in a lower voice, but here you will be finished p. 273 Art and Archeology – University of Toronto: all the lecturers are men, all the students are women lady painters

12 Art and Marriage Jon does not support Elaines art – thinks it is irrelevant Art regarded as a hobby for married women e.g Cordelias mother Feminism provides a space for Elaines art – female artists in the exhibition referred to as the girls by Jon; male journalist makes derogatory remark about bra-burning. Ben supports Elaines art financially; doesnt interfere with it; is not competitive.

13 Narrative Elaine Risleys retrospective initiates some retrospection: people, relationships, places, objects Novel is concerned with death, loss, aging, memory, and sight. Two narrative personas: the young Elaine and the older Elaine. Connections between trauma and art: many of Elaines paintings are representations of people from her past e.g the collection of paintings of Mrs Smeath

14 Motifs Cats Eye – sight; the gaze Mirrors – reflections of the self Costumes – disguises, conformity

15 Landscape and People Elaine sees the landscape and people in terms of shapes and colours. Present home: Vancouver is contrasted with her former home: Toronto Speaking of Vancouver: I cant take it seriously. I suppose these things are as real and as oppressive, to the people who grew up there as this place is to me (p. 15)

16 Vancouver

17 Toronto

18 Science and Art Influenced by her fathers drawings of biological specimens Decides to become an artist whilst sitting her biology exam. Studies painting techniques used in the Renaissance e.g Egg tempera Influenced by Leonardo da Vinci – artist and architect Stephens theories of physics influence her thoughts about art

19 Egg Tempera What I want instead is pictures that seem to exist of their own accord. I want objects that breathe out light: a luminous flatness p. 326 The first object of the painter is to make a flat plane appear as a body in relief and projecting from that plane (Leonardo da Vinci, Egg Tempera – used by Leonardo da Vinci to achieve the style of painting described above.

20 Mona Lisa

21 Van Eyck, The Arnolfini Marriage

22 Elaines Art Paints memories e.g household objects; sofas; virgin mary Objects are a source of anxiety but Elaine doesnt know why During retrospective, Elaine feels empathy for Mrs Smeath: An eye for an eye leads only to more blindness p. 405

23 Feminist Readings Interview with Journalist regarding the retrospective Elaine wants to burn her paintings Because I can no longer control these paintings, or tell them what to mean. Whatever energy they have came out of me. Im whats left over p. 409


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