Women in art
Rebecca George, artist
Rebecca George was interviewed last year on LFF; and is featured in Les Femmes Folles: The Women, 2015 anthology; she comes back now with a solo exhibit opening April 15, 2016 from 6-11 PM at Arts on Elston Gallery in Chicago, to share with LFF about her studio practice and latest work in the show including collaborations, what it’s like to be an artist in Chicago and much more…
1) How would you describe you studio practice?
It is important for me to not play it safe with my work - seeking opportunities to tune into and try new ideas without fully conceptualizing them beforehand has allowed me to remain in a state of becoming, where invention and discovery are balanced on the edge. At the same time, I’ve learned that I’m looking for myself in every piece. Not in a literal sense, but in terms of ultimately recognizing myself by revealing a truth in the work.
2) Tell me about your upcoming show/exhibit and why it’s important to you. what do you hope people get out of your work?
Turn the Other Eye, A Curated Art Party is a solo exhibit of nearly 200 pieces created in the past 2 years. The work spans large-scale to the intimate in painting, drawing and printmaking. I hope the work shares my experience of the sacredness of everyday life and the impact paying close attention to each moment has on recognizing that. We make choices and in making them, we eliminate the possibility of others for a time. Through my choices. I create the structure of my day to day experience: commitments, obligations, chores, habits, routine. The artwork is honoring what I’ve chosen by consciously presenting it as a mirror.
3) Does collaboration play a role in your work - whether with your community, artists or others? How so and how does this impact your work?
For this exhibit I am collaborating with quite a few artists: Artist and Designer Beth Borum is designing the exhibition materials and gallery layout, Arthur Connor (director of Arts On Elston in Chicago, the gallery hosting “TURN THE OTHER EYE) and artists Christine Connor, Mary Dorrell, JoAnn Hayden and Ken Hogrefe are co-curating the 6 room exhibit. Virginia Voedisch wrote an introduction to the exhibition catalog; an art historian and adjunct lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago, Ginny’s viewpoint on the body of work being presented in the show is intriguing and perceptive. I value their input and contribution very much - they are each thoughtful and skilled artists who work in multiple mediums and have witnessed my recent progression in the studio. Their influence is welcomed as I am confident in their insight and expertise.
4) Do you think you city is a good place for women in art/writing/etc? What do you think is the best thing about your city for artists, and how might it be improved?
Chicago, IL has a large numbers of alternative exhibition spaces for visual artists - people interested in curating, exhibiting and reviewing/interviewing visual art collaborate and provide opportunities to show work that don’t exist in the commercial gallery scene.
5) Artist Wanda Ewing, who curated and titled the original LFF exhibit, examined the perspective of femininity and race in her work, and spoke positively of feminism, saying “yes, it is still relevant” to have exhibits and forums for women in art; does feminism play a role in you work?
In the sense that I am a woman and I cannot separate my womanhood from my work, yes. Although being a women does not comprise the sole subject/content of my work. Feminism achieved so much for women artists, including space and freedom so they may move in and out of gender specific content, exploring other areas of self and the world with the established right of returning to it at any time.
6) Ewing’s advice to aspiring artists was “you’ve got to develop the skill of when to listen and when not to;” and “Leave. Gain perspective.” What is your favorite advice you have received or give?
That the path or journey of life is fluid and impermanent - “this too shall pass” flickers through my mind often, reminding me that I am always in a state of becoming. Not seeking an outcome or solid definition for my work keeps me focused on gaining and maintaining liberation in my practice.
~Les Femmes Folles is a volunteer organization founded in 2011 with the mission to support and promote women in all forms, styles and levels of art from around the world with the online journal, print annuals, exhibitions and events; originally inspired by artist Wanda Ewing and her curated exhibit by the name Les Femmes Folles (Wild Women). LFF was created and is curated by Sally Deskins.