De Kooning's Women
& Other Collages

Joanna Thomas

February 4 - 27, 2010

Opening Reception: 5 - 8pm
First Thursday, February 4, 2010

Artist will be in attendance the first and last weekend of the exhibition.

This February Joanna Thomas offers us another installment of her pointed collage work. Charged with her signature wit and her unapologetically feminist slant, Thomas again takes jabs at the art establishment and its seemingly ubiquitous sexism that has permeated and been permitted for, well, eons. We're all aware that H.W. Janson's definitive college textbook, History of Art: A Survey of the Major Visual Arts from the Dawn of History to the Present Day, when first published in 1962, contained not a single entry listing a female artist. In a similar vein, when Thomas graduated from a Chicago high school in 1965, her city's beloved Art Institute was devoting an entire wall to Georges Seurat's monumental painting A Sunday on La Grande Jatte; and, in smaller galleries at the museum, one could view iconic works by Grant Wood, James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, and Winslow Homer, among other celebrated male artists, with nary a work by a woman artist in sight. Also during the 1960s, when Jackson Pollack, Robert Motherwell, Max Ernst, and Willem de Kooning were famous artists, the names and work of their artist wives--Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, Dorothea Tanner, and Elaine de Kooning, respectively, were completely unknown to her. Incidentally, the only woman artist Thomas could name, the only female artist accessible to her as a role model, was Grandma Moses, who embarked upon her painting career at the age of seventy-six, after rearing ten children, and suffering the financial disaster of widowhood. As Thomas states:

"I'd heard of her, you see, because when she died in 1961 at the age of one-hundred-one, she was considered to be the darling of primitive, somewhat juvenile, paintings on cardboard or masonite, and a national treasure. What she was not, however, was a threat to the established canon."

Fortunately, the world is changing, and women artists today have unprecedented opportunity in the male dominated art world. Therefore, consider this body of work an ode to the invisible women artists of the past, a quiet lament for all the lost potential that can never be reclaimed.

Joanna Thomas lives and works in west Ellensburg, a.k.a. Dog Town. When not going bananas with snippets of cut paper and Mod Podge, she spends her time doting on her lovable puppy Archie and keeping his shenanigans at bay. Soon enough she will be doing the same for a much-anticipated grandson.

Hours: Noon-5pm Thurs-Sat,
or by appointment.

Next Exhibition:

Ries Niemi & Sheila Klein
(more info)


De Kooning's Woman I,
detail, collage, 11"x9", 2010

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