Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christine Muller (85)

-De la place pour une fleur -
73x54 - 2010

-D'une coccinelle à l'autre -
73x54 - 2010

-Une envie d'autre chose -
100x70 - 2009

Christine ajoute un dédicace/Christine adds a dedication:

Hommage aux Amazones:

Rescapées d’un naufrage
Trempées par les orages
Elles ont tourné la page
De l’épuisant voyage.

Elles ont dans leurs corsages
De nouveaux paysages
Elles ont dans leurs bagages
Un infini rivage.

A Annick, Thérèse, Chantal et tant d’autres...

Tribute to the Amazons:

Survivors of a shipwreck
Drenched by storms
They turned the page
Of the grueling trip.

In their bodices
They carry new landscapes
In their luggage,
An endless shore.

Dedicated to Annie, Theresa, Sue and many others ...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Abha Iyengar (84)

-the body depicted-the young and the old-

Abha writes:

I did this simple drawing to illustrate how the body changes over time from full curves to droops, and how we have to accept the changes and love ourselves as we are, as we change. We may not always be happy with the change. Growing into full blooded womanhood is exciting but not easy, and the change from that to the freckles and spots and sag of old age is even more difficult. We have to accept one fact alone, we can never be divorced from our body. We have to love it, nurture it, accept it and grow into it, even as it grows unyielding and difficult. The realization that 'this is me', this body is an integral part of me, is the first step to love.
I have had difficulty in accepting changes in my body~ when I was pregnant, during times of illness, as I grow older, yet, I have always loved it. it is not perfect, it is mine. It survives and carries on with life.

This Body Is Me

This body, my lover
Who stays with me when all else leaves
In whatever shape it may be
It will never let go till the end.
This body, whom I have loved,
Sometimes nurtured and often ignored
So taken for granted
Till it said, I grow weary of you.
I am heavy, creaky, disjointed, painful,
Yet I am supporting you.
I grow weary with you.
I see the body that I love
That loves me
Tire of being filled with me.
Yet we trudge on
We have no choice.
We live with each other, with a certain fondness
Knowing just where it hurts and where
We can still find joy.

© ABHA IYENGAR, 27th December 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Liz Davidson (83)

-The ground of my being-
(1996, from the exhibition "The Sweetness of Truth the Body Reveals")
Mixed media, 67 in H hx 75 in W x 75 in D

Liz writes:

Our bodies, our home, our sanctuary, our ground, our landscape, our story; our soul made visible. Using sculpture, installation, mixed media, college, printmaking, artist books, video, poetry and sound, I explore the richness of the metaphor of the body; the place we call home on the earth. The age old questions of who we are and what are we doing here are examined (although, unfortunately, ultimately not answered ). The mystery of the body, our layers of skin that keep us separate from one another, our longing to be part of the whole, our light, our darkness, the idea of metamorphosis, of transformation: this is the material I work with.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sharon Rose Dadang-Rafols (82)

This diptych is a mixture of oil and acrylics.

Sharon writes:

This painting of mine called "Habohab" in Filipino Visayan Language which means "Sharp Attack" belongs to my Series of Painting exhibited last July 2009 entitled "Babaye" or "Women". This work is inspired by women's struggles and pain from bodily attacks such as harm and abuse in cases of domestic violence and rape. I do a lot of Art workshops for healing young women victims of rape and violence here in the Philippines, some kind of Art Therapy, and in a way helps me to overcome some of my personal struggles and pains in my workplace.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Shadi Rezaei (81)

-Self_Postrait No.1, "Untold Things"-

- Self_Postrait No.2, "Untold Things"-

- Self_Postrait No.3, "Untold Things"-

Shadi writes:

I was born on May 6th 1986 in Iran & started my artistic expression with drawing. Since 2005 I've been Studying Graphic design in Art University of Tehran. I started working as a freelance graphic designer since 2007. My recent project is about aspects of the modern human and also on contemporary human life that is impacted by traditions, with special focus on Persian Typography. (Designed in Bijan Sayfouri's workshop)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pam Patterson (80)

Pam writes:

A Flash of the Real: Situating a Performance for Change

Sometimes I can hardly use human language to tell how I feel... 'If I were a dog, I'd be shaking and trembling.' Animals don't use words; their bodies speak for them. . . But I am not an animal. I am a human being, an articulate one at that, who is challenged to find words to apply to sensations I've never had before, challenged to find meaning and stability despite a changing body. I'm caught in a relentless metamorphosis.
Barbara Rosenblum in Cancer in Two Voices (1996,166-67).

Susan Sontag writes of the photographic image’s power to haunt us - to bring us to an understanding of the fragility and mortality of human life. However, she faults photography for lacking narrative continuity; it remains fatally linked to the momentary not able to produce ethical pathos in us or, if so, only for a moment.

As a multi-media performance artist, how do I work with this? How do I, as disabled woman communicate my experience of transition and of pain? Why are my bodily changes a matter of public exposure? Can my strategies control/limit/expand the perspective(s) for others?

Bodily change and its accompanying pain, as presence and as content, are not always evident on my body or in my art − the marks of my mastectomy hidden, the swollen joints covered. Artists, such as Orlan, document surgical procedure-as-choice to question our refusal to acknowledge pain. While others, such as Hannah Wilke, photograph their failing medically tortured diseased bodies, exposing our inability to comprehend and effectively respond to her’s and others suffering.

I ask, “Can the experience of the artist be experienced by the viewer and hence facilitate cultural change?” I turn from assuming that images of surgery and illness inherently have the power to portray/project pain, or politically charge the issues and transformative possibilities. Rather I move into a transparent discursive practice intending to expose abjection, reveal narrative and create distance.

Through the “performance” of the image, I capture a “flash of the real” (Barthes), to time “the decisive moment” (Cartier-Bresson) and suspend the ultimate act(ion)s of tension/pain and possibilities (Barba). I explore the insertion of interpretation in the captured moment, multi-media strategies to charge the moment, narrative or counter-narrative to structure memory, and time-based art’s potential to engage time, space and context in encouraging self-reflexivity.

Butler, J. (2005). Photography, War, Outrage. Modern Language Association of America (V.120, #3) May, 822-827.
Kuppers, P. (2007). The Scar of Visibility: Medical Performances and Contemporary Art, Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press.
Kristeva, J. (2003). Approaching Abjection. In Amelia Jones, The Feminism and Culture Reader, London/New York: Routledge, 389-391.
Lugones, M. (1990). Playfulness, "World"-Traveling and Loving Perception, in
Anzaldua, G. (ed.) Making Face, Making Soul Hacienda Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Women of Colour, pp. 390-402. San Francisco: Ann Lute Foundation.
Oughton, J. (2008). A Journey through/around Pam Patterson’s Cellu(h)er Resistance : The Body wth/out Organs?, Toronto: Fado Performance Inc..
Rotman, B. (Online August 1, 2008) Gesture or the body without organs or speech.
Sontag, S. (2003). Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Wolff, H. (2008). (trans. Nicholas Grindell). The Tears of Photography, Grey Room 29, Winter, 66-89, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Wolff, J. (2003). Reinstating Corporeality: Feminism and Body Politics. In Amelia Jones, The Feminism and Culture Reader, London/New York: Routledge, 414-425.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jane Zweibel (79)

-Misfit #4-

-Self-Portrait as Midlife Mermaid #4-

Jane writes:

Misfit #4 is from my 1997 "Misfit" series, a series of self-portraits in which I wrestle with pantyhose. This work is about the struggle with body-image and weight, and on a deeper, metaphorical level, about both physical and psychological conflicts and struggles.

Self-Portrait as Midlife Mermaid #4 is from my 2009 series "Midlife Mermaids". In this work, I depict myself through the lens of both fantasy and reality. I show the fact of my aging upper torso and face, and the fantasy of my lower mermaid body.

My most recent and on-going work consists of what I call “stuffed paintings”, which are sewn, stuffed and painted sculptural objects. The idea of a “stuffed painting” subverts the more conventional notion of a “painted sculpture”. The materials I use in these pieces include canvas, cotton fibers, thread, glitter, and acrylic and oil paints. My work attempts to push and blur the boundaries and conventions of sculpture and painting, and of traditionally male dominated “fine art” and female generated “craft”. It also takes a progressive and challenging approach to figuration and narrative in art.

With my “Stuffed Paintings”, I start by creating figural silhouette stencils. I transfer the stencils onto canvas. The pieces are hand-sewn and filled with cotton. The resulting soft sculptures allude to childhood stuffed animals and dolls. They also suggest cartoon figures, spiritual icons, and effigies. These pieces are paradoxical, in that they both invite and repel touch. I make oil paintings on the façades of each piece. The illusionary paintings play off of the sculptural forms. The paintings are based on collages, over which smaller stencils are superimposed, honing in on odd perspectives/juxtapositions. The original compositions are altered and collage/montage-like, inventing new meanings, and non-linear narrative possibilities.

A major theme in my work is an on-going exploration of issues of identity, in particular female identity. I use self-portraiture as a subject through which I can express and conceptualize meaning in a chaotic world. My “stuffed paintings” reveal images that reference physical and psychological states of being and, senses of self, inherent in the human condition. In my work, I am interested in the interweaving of private and public realms. My content is culled from a range of sources: personal and collective history, current events, mythology, urban life, family, and nature. My hybrid personas embody the conflicts, losses and connections between female and male, and childhood and adult, lives.

In my current “Midlife Mermaids” series, I examine issues of female identity, gender, body image, sexuality, and aging. The faces and upper bodies of each mermaid consist of self-portraits expressing a variety of emotional and psychological states, including confrontation and contemplation. Within the shapes of the lower torsos and tails, I paint images of the mysteries, wonders, and wreckage of the sea: coral reefs, sea plants and flowers, which also reference both HIV and cancer cells and female sexual and reproductive organs, and the ruins of sunken ships. Opposites of vulnerability/power, beauty/ugliness, growth/decomposition, and fact/fiction are contained and expressed in these works. My “Midlife Mermaids” are, at once, portraits of a woman artist and individual, and of mythical sirens capable of luring and captivating men. They are simultaneously personal feminine images, and images emanating from a collective female (and male) imagination.

Monday, November 29, 2010

AnnMarie Tornabene (78)

AnnMarie writes:

I have been photographing myself for almost 20 years now in various ways but it all started with body acceptance as I was overweight and grew up being ridiculed for it. I wanted to show myself and the world that I was fat and I was beautiful. As time went on though, I stepped back from my focusing on just my body and began to photograph myself in narrative ways dealing with other issues with myself. Now having lost significant weight and dealing with a new body including skin that has been aged and stretched, I am slowly dealing with it again but only in video have I tackled it head on.

My Skin-Self Portrait Video #5

My Skin 2-Self Portrait Video #7

My Skin 3-Self Portrait Video #8

As I approach my 44th birthday, I start to think of myself as a warrior. I have fought the conceptions of body image for a very long time and now, I feel a certain strength stirring inside me. As I heard the musical piece used here in my latest video for the first time, I felt a powerful surge. I didn't understand the words (the lyrics are Hungarian) but there was that primal sound - one that I wanted to cry out as I thought about how my flabby (due to severe weight loss) body - that is getting more so as I age, is now looked at as "interesting" rather than sexy. I am fine with interesting but because I have become a "wise" woman with years of experience, I am more confident and I see my body as strong. There is a depth now to my sexuality as well that wasn't there in my 20's. So, Springtime is here and sexuality in general is at its heightened state for the human race and definitely for the animal race. I wanted to express that I am strong, I am sexy, I am woman, I am animal, I am warrior.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thomasin Dewhurst (77)

-Drawing 2-
charcoal and white pastel on paper, 30" x 22"

-Drawing 3-
charcoal and white pastel on paper, 30" x 22"

-Emergence 1-
oil on paper on board, 30" x 40"

Thomasin writes:

My work grows out of the self-portrait in that I use myself as a model for many of my works. My paintings and drawings are not directly self-portraits; my body is merely a reference and a vehicle for developing ideas and emotions. Painting and drawing my own body brings my focus onto the beauty of light and dark within the contours of human flesh, which is not necessarily socially desired beauty. For me, sagging, stretched flesh and cellulite are as mesmerizing to draw as is the strength of muscle, and emotion expressed through the posture or gesture of the tensed / relaxed body. What I appreciate about my physical self when making my drawings and paintings is not what I value and, in fact, what I would disguise, when going out into society. The two ideas of self are disparate and unreconciled.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sara Zin (76)

-two paintings from the series 'Contemplation'-

Sara writes:

I chose Contemplation as title/theme because at the time I was going through a lot of transition in my life and was questioning a lot about my identity and what I wanted for my future. (I am adopted and had come back from a trip to Korea in which I met my biological family. I also had graduated around that time and was wondering what to do with my life in general).

Through painting this series I was able to figure out what I wanted (or at least what my next steps were) and rediscover who I am, so this title was more a comment on my frame of mind.

I think that all art is in some form therapeutic and healing. When I visited this blog that is the feeling that I got.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gaela Erwin (75)

-from the 'eye shadow series,' pastel self portraits-

Gaela writes:

This series of self-portraits that I call my "eyeshadow series" pokes fun at my conditioned reflex to make myself beautiful with the help of a little make-up. I am surrounded by images and media that tell me aging is a sin and that I will be held in high esteem if I am young, beautiful and sexy. Since I am in my late fifties, I have lost most of my currency by those standards. Yet, I find conflict in the act of denigrating this message with the occasional guilty desire to conform by prettying up in any way possible.

In the studio, I am captivated as I work from the reflection that stares back a me from the mirror. How do I represent those furrows and lines that crisscross my forehead? Sagging skin, wrinkles that are ever-more deeply etched and a neck that now clearly display the muscles and tendons that lie beneath provide new pictorial challenges. No amount of eye shadow can create the wonder of painting skin with a history. The resulting self-portraits portray aging skin and beautiful aqua eyeshadow that gains a frightening potency with each iteration.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Meredith Monk (74)

Meredith Monk performs 'last song' from her cd impermanence live at Joe's Pub, NYC 2005. Words by James Hillman.

This newest multidisciplinary work features a joyful and poignant look at change and the essential experiences we all share, from “…what we leave behind, to our fears and our celebrations of life…”.

“In a way, making a piece about impermanence is an impossible task”, writes Meredith Monk in her booklet note. “One can only brush upon aspects of it; conjure up the sensation that everything is in flux, everything constantly changes, we can’t hold onto anything …”

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Samira Abbassy (73)

-Matriarchal Trinity-
This painting was shown at the Incheon Women's Biennale in Korea last year.
(click image to view larger)

Samira writes:

In this triptych, the Matriarch is examined as a phenomenon which combines biographical, cultural, psychic, chemical and metaphysical aspects. The Divine/human dilemma.
This mode of representation incorporates the events and narratives of a life into the body of the figure, biography as biology. Their specific identities are woven, embroidered and drawn into the patterns of their dresses. These clues tell who they are: what they feel. A biography as written into the body and onto the dress.
The Ultra Marine blue color that unifies the piece, is a deliberate imitation of the precious Lapis blue of traditional Medieval Icons of the Virgin Mary. The icon was not only the object of worship, but was made with the most precious of materials, giving it alchemical/transcendent qualities. This color also has unique spacial qualities and represents the infinite, the universal, also implying the process of creation itself.
I wanted to subvert the image of the Icon as the archetype of the Western Canon and bring to mind the Byzantine era when Christianity was embedded in middle-eastern culture.
I am especially drawn to Sacred/Religious art from all faiths and denominations, as I found that religious imagery and its language in general, (whether Muslim, Christian, Hindu etc) provides the visual clues and a way into these psychic/spiritual states. The language of Sacred Art seems to be more successful at conveying metaphor and describing the metaphysical aspects of being human. The figure is recognized as an archetype rather than an individual.
I tried to open the field to sacred iconography from all faiths (Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist etc) and fuse the disparate mythologies and traditions, in an attempt towards the creation of an iconography of hybridism.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Shizu Homma (72)

Shizu writes:

I create movement based performance work, heavily influenced by butoh.

I grew up in Brooklyn ; am a daughter of impoverished Japanese immigrants, who were born the year after the WWII ended. I have never studied nor met with Hijikata or Ohno, yet I am a stray branch on this butoh tree, and dancing is partly an exorcism of ghosts from an early life of violence and fear that I was born into. I dance to reconcile my inheritance.

My dances are usually a combination of choreography and structured improvisation, though recently I have been collaborating with new music composers, with whom I improvise solos.

Dance and live performance is the most anthropomorphic art form; Yet I am interested in the challenge of moving non human. At other times I like to interrogate the human condition by searching for movement that exaggerates the behavior of our species.

I am not interested in creating art as a form of escape. I want to create work that is infused with love for the earth and all that are hurt or sick, or scared, to lessen the need for sentimentality and affection, so we can rise up in reality.

-under the bruckner-


-south bronx grey-blue-

-walk on water-

more of Shizu Homma's work on:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Clarity Haynes-The Breast Portrait Project (71)

Clarity says about the project:

The Breast Portrait Project is about portraits of the female torso. It started out of a self portrait I made in my mid 20's when I was feeling really uncomfortable with my body. I did a portrait of my torso as a way to confront those feelings. I found out that making the portrait did work to make me feel much more comfortable and accepting with myself.
I started doing these portraits for other women, which turned out to be a meaningful experience both for the models and for myself. I want to get beyond our judgment on what is beautiful, beyond that mental place of what our fixed ideas (on beauty) are. I want to make each body look so beautiful in its portrait and then I want the viewers to get that beauty too. To me it's exciting to portray women's real bodies which are often invisible in our culture.

Clarity talks more about the project and the upcoming show in February in NYC in the video on kickstarter:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Suana Verelst (70)

"dissection", an analysis of the self...

Suana Verelst

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Linda Molleman, Chantal Molleman (69)

Photos of Chantal Molleman who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. The photos were taken by her sister, artist Linda Molleman.

Chantal Molleman writes:


Vulnerable, destroyed body and mind, I feel like shit all the time.
What does IT want from me ? Why me ?
I’m not myself anymore, IT doesn’t belong to me, I don’t want it anymore !

Diagnosed with breast cancer, MAY 2009.
One large huge breast is a purple foreign object. It doesn’t fit with the rest of my whole person, just hanging there like a big prune with an eye on it, a dead eye with no soul, staring at the rest of my private parts, bald and useless, no hair anywhere !

I’m submitted to twelve chemo’s and thirty three radiations, ‘Gamma rays’ entering my deep soul and burn the flesh away of my once nice breast, a rose blossom, what a shame...
My entire being changing aggressively, I’m very much in pain, very angry at IT and I can’t stop it.

The world outside not existing because it is not my world anymore. I’m powerless... so horrible aching inside and out, and yet I’m searching for the meaning of all this.

Dead sick smoking my lovely cigarette which I cherish deeply, my one and only escape, my only moment for a while, making me happy and ‘ normal’ for a few minutes. My cigarette... How stupid can I be?

Look, the mirror tells me how beautiful I am, still am, bald, yet I can’t see it.
Do I have to surrender, accept and suffer?
Fading concentration, loss of control, I cry it out. Help me ! The mess inside kills me slowly.
There is no hope in my head, my Picasso coloured breast burning continuously like a monster... I want to die !
There is my lovely cigarette, my only companion, killing me too.

With a little needle I try to prick my balloon, find a small hole, how tiny it may be and run away from my captured body. Yet, I do not find the way out to escape from this filthy shell.
No concentration. Perhaps another cigarette? Yes ! What the heck, I am dying anyway.

This fat monster with beautiful blue eyes, crying for attention, credibility and pity, and yet I don’t want it. Screaming for hope and understanding,any encouragement to survive.
Many questions in that bald head of mine crawling around in my brains for so long already. My cigarette ... not real, not logical. I take another nicotine escape.

I’m so tired, burned out and please let me see my grandchild one day. My beloved son who I adore and means the world to me; Please...
Another chemo, number 12 and I say NO ! Enough now, I can’t and will not have it. No more poison.
My body and mind refuse it, and I believe in myself, no struggle for live anymore. Final countdown.

Little things, a flower, the sun, nature and above all my music, my operas.They are all there for me, just for me.
My cigarette.

Regaining power inside by meditation, little things come back to me. Small things that make my life worth living for, appreciation of futilities, I see it all in a different way now.
I’m becoming a master at putting life into perspective.

Don’t take IT so hard on yourself !
My balloon ruptures, I fly away from my cocoon. It’s a renaissance.
I slowly accept the person. I become a beautiful person for myself and other people.
I see again. Eyes were wide shut !
I rejected IT, the ugly Duck, and if IT strikes again, so it will be.

But I’m still here ... with my cigarette.


Chantal Molleman, TEXT, October 2010.
Linda Molleman, PHOTOS, March 2010.

Anonymous (68)


I got the news a week ago –
The high-risk HPV test came back positive.
My ob/gyn didn’t say anything more
Except that I should return in six months.
No consultation; no explanation.
Just that I needed to return in six months.
They were very rude and unsympathetic.

Said diagnosis didn’t include
Any education about its implications.
Knowledge alone is not empowerment.
I had to learn more for myself.
The Internet is rife with falsehoods & misunderstandings;
Misinterpretation and scary stories reign supreme.
Researching HPV online, I was horrified by what I found.

As I learned more I was fraught with worry.
HPV causes all kinds of cancers;
Many don’t have obvious symptoms and go undiagnosed until too late.
HPV is considered a common STI, but I haven’t “sowed my wild oats”
And my only sex partner (in both skin contact and the actual act)
Is the man that I married – he is all that I have known.
But that isn’t true the other way around.

Women are told that they have no way of knowing where they got this.
Some are even told that they don’t need to inform their male partner -
That it won’t affect him and he doesn’t need to know.
He can obliviously keep spreading it around
Without the knowledge that he is doing so
And without ever being blamed for anything.
This leaves him and his future loves / conquests at risk.

Men are rarely acknowledged as carriers
And are not tested to see if they have this.
Double standards demonize women
For any sexual encounters, and shame them.
Once shamed, they don’t talk about it.
It becomes a private matter and their own dark secret,
Their own personal pain, problem and worry.

So the attitude still prevails:
Boys will be boys,
And girls are solely responsible for their own sexual encounters
Whether they get a STI or get pregnant.
Some view HPV as punishment from God for promiscuity.
They imply that cervical & other cancers evidence that punishment.
But why am I being punished for something I didn’t do?

Those who tested positive can feel alone
Even while knowing that 50 – 80% of women are estimated
To have been diagnosed at some point or another.
I have yet to meet another woman who’s gone through this,
Although I haven't talked with many out of my own shame.
I feel dirty, tainted, and undesirable and am fearful for my health and future.
Education is sorely lacking; both women and men deserve better.


The HPV Support Network:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Inne Haine (67)

Inne writes about this cartoon:

For girls, growing up has never been easy. These days it seems even more complex. There are plenty of role models around and often girls lack guidance in shaping their identities. The beautiful, photo shopped faces we know from advertising have become the norm of who we should be as women it seems. Young girls are being rushed to grow up physically, so they can step into the vital, sexy, consuming world of the ‘perfect’ adult shown in the media. How can their minds keep up? How can they see through that? That’s why in the storyline, I allow for the little girl to be just that, a little girl …unaffected by this kind of inner conflict between who she is and who she ‘should’ be.
I remember from my childhood how strong the influence of the group is on the individual. You better try hard to fit in, or so it seems at first. After leaving school, that peer pressure falls away. Suddenly you can be yourself. Who’s perceived as ‘weird’ in school, may very well be special and unique ...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Annemiek Mullenders (66)


Annemiek writes:

After some time of feeling unwell, one day I just lost consciousness and woke up three weeks later in the ICU at the hospital. I was on life support and hooked up to many other devices. I couldn’t do anything and didn’t understand what was going on. My body battered: a large untidy scar where my chest was cut open and tubes and wires going in and out of it. What happened was, I had a massive pulmonary embolism and multiple cardiac arrests, CPR, lack of oxygen causing brain damage, a 7-hour emergency heart/lung surgery with complications and organ failure and residue damage to my muscles and nerves as sequelae. So I was told. Nobody expected that I’d ever wake up at all. I'm (still) confused and in a lot of pain. After a difficult rehabilitation, two years later, I’m trying to find out who this new person is that I became and what I still cán do with all my (new) limitations. Gently, carefully I’ve started to paint, draw, cut, paste and I’m finding a way to process it all.

This triptych shows my body with its scars like faces showing the emotions I went through: surprise/incomprehension - confusion /anger – acceptance/surrender.

Aunia Kahn (65)

-salutary absorption-

Aunia writes:

When faced with fears I tend to be drawn directly into art, to get out the fear, frustrations and the overall feeling of lack of control – I have control with my art.

My family has suffered many Cancer scares, and many deaths associated with the disease breast. Brain, breast and kidney are to name a few. Breast Cancer runs on both sides of my family, and we carry the gene as well.

My gynecologist asked me told me at 30 I was going to have to go get a mammogram for the lumps she found in both breasts, due to her concern and the breast cancer risks in my family. I was devastated at the news, the fear of “maybe something was wrong with me” and the “what if’s” that come along after watching my mother go though Breast Cancer in her early 40’s and to be fighting stage 4 Bone Cancer in her late 40’s. (She is doing well)

I went home and created this piece of work as I waited for my mammogram appointment, which was a week later.

Everything came back normal, and I am healthy and fine but I am much more conscious about self breast checking and making people aware that Cancer, in any form can happen to anyone, even the most healthy, young and bright. So we must take care of our body, mind and spirit so that we do not give Cancer or any other illness a place to materialize and grow.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Maureen Piggins (64)

-Back and front of Maureen's postcard for A Book About Death, NYC, 2009-

Maureen writes:

I created several works and poems about my mother's illness and death from breast cancer, and consolidated much of this into an artist's book entitled "Echo". Many images represent the body (mine) in psychological portraits, while others are more literal in the interpretation of the body (my mother's) during illness. The two images above were exhibited in postcard format for the first "A Book About Death" show at the Emily Harvey Gallery in New York.


The image above, "Roots" is a work that represents my simultaneous connection to death and life. My body is between these two states, grief connecting me to my deceased parents and strength and joy to my son. This image also appears in postcard format in the "Ray Johnson and A Book About Death" exhibit. I've included the back of the postcard here as well, which deals with my father in the later stages of dementia.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jennifer Weigel (63)

Images from
The Life Blood Exhibit/Menstruation Art:



Jennifer writes:

Why make art about menstruation? Menstruation is still a taboo topic among many cultures. Many women are taught to be ashamed of their bodies and feel dirty when they are menstruating. There are still many myths surrounding menstruation, and both normal and potentially life-threatening conditions are too often not discussed, leaving individual women to wonder whether or not anything is wrong with their bodies whenever they experience any changes (sometimes even including menarche at the onset - many a girl has learned from a school nurse that what she is experiencing is normal). But menstruation shouldn’t been seen as something dirty, deviant or wrong - it is a natural function of the female body and provides evidence of women’s ability to carry children and to give birth to new life.

By drawing attention to the female body and to the menstrual cycle, artists are able to comment on this life-giving aspect of womanhood and to celebrate and/or show their discontent with their own bodies and cycles. Also in exploring this theme, artists are able to offer commentary on their experiences, confront stereotypes & assumptions and educate one another about things that are too often left unsaid. Here are some images of a couple of my artworks celebrating menstruation, including an altered dress called Blossom and an assemblage entitled Coming of Age. Please feel free to look at some more of my art on my website and to check out Life Blood Exhibit, a show about menstruation that I curated in St. Louis and hope will travel nationally.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Elena Cortés (62)

Óleo sobre lienzo, 81 x 60 cm (cada uno)
Oil on canvas, 81 x 60 cm (each panel)
, 2010

Elena escribe, Elena writes:
Presento y represento un cúmulo de situaciones con la mujer como personaje principal, que intentan gracias al diálogo entre espectador y obra, una posible definición de la identidad propia de la mujer y su erotismo.
Una pintura basada en la sutileza, que sugiera más y que describa menos. Una pintura de manchas y fundidos que nos traslade al conflicto entre desaparición y presencia y que seduzca con su simple esencia indefinida.

I present and represent a combination of situations with women as main characters, who try through dialogue between viewer and work, for a possible definition of the identity of the woman and her eroticism.A painting based on subtlety, suggesting more and describing less.
A painting of blots and of fading that moves us towards the conflict between presence and disappearance and that appeals by its simple indefinite essence.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monique Donckers (61)

Monique writes:
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2008 at the age of 54 ( I was about to throw a big birthday-party as my year of birth is 1954, but this turned out differently). I had a mastectomy and chemo and radiation treatment.
I had many difficulties getting used to the one-breasted-body, and the boldness. It was hard to deal with the person in the mirror, so I started to collect wigs in all sorts of colors and shapes, and took photographs of every transformation of my body during the 8 months of treatment.
I am a sculptress really, but as I was too sick to do the heavy work, I tried to make some oil-paintings from the photographs that I took.
So this is what you see here, a story of a short period in my life, where the body changed drastically, and where I became estranged from both my body and myself.
I am happy to say that today I feel re-born, this whole experience has made me very much more aware of ‘life’.