SERIES – Women’s Work

Women’s Work

Mixed media is a form I keep coming back to and am focusing on at the moment in a series of canvas varying in size from 8” x 10” – 18” x 24”.

I chose illustration as my major, a long time ago at the School of Visual Arts because I love words. Literature, poetry, song lyrics etc. The power of words has never been more obvious than this moment in history, or has it? As a big fan of vintage anything, I recently found a treasure trove of Movie Life magazines that set my mind off on a tangent. As a woman who was around at the dawn of the women’s movement in the 70’s, not old enough to participate but old enough to understand, it’s disheartening to realize that we have not come that far and we are still fighting the good fight.

Looking at advertisements from 1951, the message was all about reducing, controlling and removing. The messages we receive today are not all that different, only the words have changed but the intent remains. Miltown, a popular drug prescribed in the 1950’s for housewives set the stage for using medication to “treat” a laundry list of perceived ills. They did more harm than good. Women have been told that their lives, their feelings, their expectations are things to be “treated” way before Miltown, and it continues to this day.

I chose what some may consider “traditional” women’s arts such as embroidery and applique to embellish the insidious messages women were bombarded with. The “perfect home” is labeled with everything a woman in 1951 should be striving for, at least in the eyes of the advertisers.  Embroidered Miltown capsules rain down, watering seeds of discontent. It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Resources –

The Crisis of Psychoanalysis and the Miltown Resolution – Jonathan Metzl

Here Lady Take Some Pills for your Hysteria –     Taylor Prewitt


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